Saudi bourse closes higher as Kingdom returns to level before Prince Alwaleed was detained in corruption probe
Middle Eastern stock markets were mixed on Monday with Saudi Arabia's index rising as global investment firm Kingdom Holding continued rebounding after its owner Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was released from custody.
The Saudi index gained 0.4 percent as Kingdom added 2.4 percent to 10.28 riyals - the level where it was trading before Prince Alwaleed was detained in a corruption probe that saw scores of businessmen detained last November.
Daily volume in the stock was the heaviest since February 2016. On Sunday, the first day after Prince Alwaleed's release, it rocketed 10 percent.
During his detention, the Saudi stock index rose over eight percent. Nevertheless, Kingdom's rebound was seen as a vote of confidence in the company. Saudi officials said the prince would keep control of the firm after his release.
Declining Saudi stocks outnumbered gainers by 93 to 79. Fashion retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co, which had jumped 6.8 percent on Sunday after some of its major shareholders were released in the corruption probe, fell back 2.5 percent.
But petrochemical firm Sipchem rose 1.7 percent after it estimated fourth-quarter net profit jumped to 164.4 million riyals ($43.8 million) from 31.9 million riyals, beating SICO Bahrain's forecast of 154 million riyals and NCB Capital's 135 million riyals.
Dubai's index fell 0.3 percent but Bahrain-based financial services firm Ithmaar Holding rose to 0.76 dirham on its first day of trade in Dubai from a low of 0.67 dirham.
It was Dubai's most heavily traded stock, seeing over 70 million shares change hands, almost of third of the market's entire trading volume. Meanwhile, the company's Bahrain-listed shares surged 8.3 percent to 19.5 US cents, equivalent to 0.72 dirham.
Abu Dhabi edged down 0.1 percent as Abu Dhabi National Energy retreated 3.5 percent. But Qatar's index rose 0.4 percent as Qatar National Bank, the biggest lender, added 2.4 percent.