Saudi hits 3-month low on oil, global fears
Riyadh, May 19, 2012
Saudi Arabian shares dropped nearly 2 per cent to a three-month low, weighed by declines in the heavyweight banking and petrochemical sectors, after a fall in oil prices and global stocks.
The all-share index closed 1.9 percent lower at 6,966 points, 8.6 per cent higher than at the start of the year but a 12 per cent drop from a 44-month high hit on April 3. It is the index's lowest closing level since February 20.
'What we're seeing is a reaction to the global market. All eyes on Monday will be watching how early trades deal with Greece and the euro zone crisis,' remarked Hisham Tuffaha, asset manager at Bakheet Investment Group.
World stocks suffered on Friday as investors fled risky investments for safe-haven assets amid growing concerns over the debt crisis afflicting Greece and other euro zone economies.
Share movements in the world's top oil exporter were also heavily influenced by crude prices, which dropped to a 2012 low on Friday as Europe's economic woes threatened to undercut demand.
The banks and financial services index dropped 2.1 and the petrochemical index fell 2 per cent.
The bellweather Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic) lost 1.8 per cent and Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia's largest lender, dropped 3 per cent
Earlier in the day, too the bourse opened lower, with petrochemical and banking stocks weighing after a fall in oil prices and declines in global stock markets.
The index traded 1.1 per cent lower around 7,020 points.-Reuters