Banks Drag Saudi Arabian Stocks Down Ahead of Ramadan: Inside EM

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabian stocks fell the most since January as investors locked in gains ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, when trading volumes in the kingdom typically decline.

Al Rajhi Bank and National Commercial Bank, which together account for about a quarter of the index, were the biggest contributors to the Tadawul All Share Index’s 1.4 percent loss. Egyptian stocks also declined, dragging the main index down by the most this year.

Banks Drag Saudi Arabian Stocks Down Ahead of Ramadan: Inside EM

“After a good rally in the banking sector, investors are taking a breather as most of the quarterly results are out now,” said Muhammad Faisal Potrik, the head of research at Riyad Capital. “Al Rajhi posted record quarterly profit, but it’s also trading close to our target price” of 74 riyals, he said. Its shares fell 1.9 percent to 73.8 riyals as of 1:54 p.m. in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabian equities declined as traders anticipated reduced liquidity during Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn until dusk. Most Muslims across the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council work reduced hours throughout the month, which is set to begin this week.

The kingdom’s main stock gauge, among the world’s best performers this year, spent the entire month of April in oversold territory, helping to push to its estimated valuation to the highest since at least 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

HIGHLIGHTS 
  • Egypt’s EGX30 falls 2.3% as all but three members decline
  • Markets in Bahrain and Kuwait advance while Abu Dhabi, Dubai retreat

MIDDLE EASTERN MARKETS:

  • The ADX General Index slips 0.3% in Abu Dhabi, erasing earlier gains. Dubai’s main gauge loses 0.2%
    • READ: Abraaj Investors Were Warned Ahead of its Historic Collapse
    • READ: Noor Bank Posts 8% Increase in Profit as DIB Weighs Acquisition
  • In Tel Aviv, the TA-35 Index slides 0.1%, extending its losing streak to a fifth day, the longest in more than a month
    • READ: Gaza-Israel Tensions Escalate as Hundreds of Rockets Fly

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.