Bloomberg News

Saudi Arabian Shares Extend Losses as Europe Debt Crisis Spreads

November 20, 2011

Nov. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabian shares dropped for a fourth day, their longest losing streak since June, after U.S. and European stocks declined amid the euro area’s deepening debt crisis.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s largest petrochemicals maker, lost 0.8 percent, while Al Rajhi Bank, the kingdom’s biggest lender by market value, dropped 0.7 percent.

The Tadawul All Share Index fell 0.3 percent, the steepest drop since Nov. 1, to 6,198.87 in Riyadh. The 149-company gauge extended losses for a fourth day, the most since the five-day stretch that ended on June 20.

“The Saudi market is reacting to deteriorating economic outlook in Europe,” said Asim Bukhtiar, an equity analyst at Riyad Capital. “The debt crisis appears to be spreading rather than containing, but the key issue is the lack of clear direction which has left confidence in limbo.”

U.S. and European markets retreated this week as Spanish, French and Italian bond yields rose and Fitch Ratings said Europe’s debt crisis poses a threat to American banks. The S&P 500 dropped 3.8 percent, the most since the week ended Sept. 23, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.9 percent and the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined by 3.7 percent.

Sabic fell 0.75 riyal to 95 riyals, its lowest price since Nov. 1. Al Rajhi decreased 0.5 riyal to 68.25 riyals.

“Trading activity appears to be headlines-driven more so than fundamentals,” said Bukhtiar. “Uncertainty has increased volatility.”

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

--Editors: Raj Rajendran, John Deane.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mourad Haroutunian in Riyadh at mharoutunian@bloomberg.net; Ayesha Daya in Dubai at adaya1@bloomberg.net

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


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