Banks drag Saudi shares down
Riyadh, April 17, 2010
Saudi shares closed slightly lower, dragged down by banking stocks, while petrochemical stocks gained 0.43 per cent after a negative start on Saturday.
The all-share closed 0.13 per cent lower to 6882.01 points and the banking sector lost 0.41 per cent to 17537.41 points.
"Banking stocks mainly factored negative sentiments due to lower than expected quarterly results hurt by lower lending income and booking provisions," said Mohammed Ishaq Ali, a fund manager at al-Rajhi Capital in Riyadh.
Heavyweight Al Rajhi Bank closed 0.88 per cent while Saudi Hollandi Bank shed 0.90 per cent after announcing on Wednesday that its profits dropped 19 per cent.
Banque Saudi Fransi gained 1.74 per cent after posting a drop in its first quarter profits.
The Petrochemical index closed 43 per cent higher with Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic) remaining stable at SR103.25 ($27.53) while its affiliate Saudi Kayan gains 5.54 per cent.
"The market is pinning its hope on Sabic to announce much robust profit growth due to rising oil prices, global GDP growth and start of production from new capacities," Ali said. – Reuters