Saudi stocks at 3-month low as oil falls

The all-share TASI index closed at 6,315.46 points, its lowest close since Feb. 14.
Saudi stocks at 3-month low as oil falls
(Getty Images)
By Reuters
Sat 22 May 2010 12:37 PM

Petrochemical, cement and banking stocks led Saudi shares to their lowest close in more than three months after oil prices fell on concerns over global demand.

The all-share TASI index closed at 6,315.46 points, its lowest close since Feb. 14.

Cement stocks made the strongest losses with the industry's index falling 2.6 percent while the heavier petrochemical stocks index shed 2.2 percent.

The fortunes of the cement sector are closely tied to government spending and any sustained drop in oil prices may affect the profitability of cement firms in the kingdom.

Petrochemical stocks meanwhile rely heavily on global demand, and Saudi industry players have recently said that Asian demand was offsetting declining demand elsewhere.

Petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) fell 2.4 percent to 90 riyals, its lowest share price since March 3.

Al-Rajhi Bank shed 1.6 percent leading the banking stocks index it dominated to close 1.5 percent lower.

On Friday, oil prices fell for the eighth of the previous nine trading days as growing stockpiles of crude and oil products in the United States undercut the economic optimism that boosted equities markets.

The Saudi bourse is closed on Thursdays and Fridays.

Shares in Etihad Atheeb Telecommunication Co closed 5.6 percent down after the kingdom's first private fixed line operator reported disappointing earnings for the year to end-March, 2010.

Atheeb, supposed to compete for voice and broadband clients with state-controlled Saudi Telecom and Mobily, reported a net loss of 379 million riyals for the period - equivalent to 38 percent of its capital.

Its sales stood at 35.4 million riyals since it started business in June, 2009.  (Reuters)

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