Bloomberg News

Saudi Shares End Little Changed as Crown Prince Sultan Dies

October 22, 2011

Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabian shares closed little changed as the death of Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud set in motion royal succession plans for the world’s largest oil exporter.

Saudi Telecom Co., Saudi Arabia’s largest phone operator by market value, dropped the most in six months while Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s largest petrochemicals maker, rose to its highest price in a month.

The 148-company Tadawul All Share Index climbed less than 0.1 percent to 6,108.94 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh, as one stock rose for every stock that dropped. The gauge reversed losses of as much as 0.9 percent in intraday trading.

“The market is slightly dropping due to the death of the Saudi crown prince,” Turki Fadaak, head of research at Riyadh- based Albilad Investment Co., said by e-mail. “The market’s gauge will reverse by the end of the day as we are at the start of the first week after earnings have been announced.”

Saudi state television today announced the death of Sultan and then began playing verses from the Koran as is the custom. The prince died “outside the kingdom after suffering an illness,” the Royal Court said in a statement posted on the state-run Saudi Press Agency website.

Saudi Arabia holds the world’s largest oil reserves. Crude for December delivery rose 1.6 percent to settle at $87.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday.

Saudi Telecom slumped 4.4 percent to 34.50 riyals, the biggest loss since April 20, after posting a 53 percent drop in third-quarter profit to 1.56 billion riyals ($416 million) as it booked foreign-exchange losses and set aside provisions.

Etihad Etisalat Co., the kingdom’s second-biggest operator known as Mobily, fell to its lowest price in a month, losing 1.9 percent to 52 riyals. The Riyadh-based company last week posted an 8 percent increase in third-quarter profit, missing analyst estimates.

Sabic gained 0.8 percent to 93 riyals, its highest price since Sept. 20, and Jarir Marketing Co., the largest Saudi retailer of stationery and smartphones by market value, surged 6.1 percent to a record 209 riyals.

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is the only Gulf Arab bourse open on Saturdays.

--Editor: Paul Verschuur

To contact the reporter on this story: Mourad Haroutunian in Riyadh at mharoutunian@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net


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