Saudi Index Drops Most Since May in Final-Hour Slump: Inside EM

Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index fell the most in five months amid renewed concern about measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The benchmark index retreated 4.1% to 8,154.59, the lowest level in more than seven weeks. The decline, which led losses among major benchmarks in the Middle East on Sunday, accelerated in the final hour of trading in Riyadh.

Large caps Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the chemical maker in which Saudi Aramco holds a majority stake, real-estate developer Jabal Omar Development Co. and Saudi Aramco pressured the index the most, sliding 4.5%, 9.6% and 2.3%, respectively. Sabic tumbled even after posting a return to profit in the third quarter that was mainly due to the reversal of impairments associated with Clariant AG.

Saudi Index Drops Most Since May in Final-Hour Slump: Inside EM

Saudi Arabia’s coronavirus curve has flattened steadily over the past four months and daily new cases have dropped by more than 90% since peaking in June. The kingdom has reported more than 344,000 cases. Still, analysts and investors cited fears of the return to lockdown to explain the slump.

The sell-off was fueled by “strong rumors that have been denied by the authorities on imposing a ban and suspending services,” Mohammed Al-Shemimry, the general manager of Mohammed Ashemimry Financial Consultants, said in an interview to Ekhbariya TV. “These rumors have definitely affected investors negatively.”

Mohammed Al-Abdulaali, the spokesman for the kingdom’s health ministry, denied that there will be a lockdown. He spoke at a press conference in Riyadh after markets were closed.

Further restrictions would compound the oil-rich country’s economic struggles. Saudi Arabia’s exports fell by a quarter in August compared with a year earlier, weighed down by a drop in oil revenue. Brent crude declined 2.7% last week to $41.77 per barrel.

Al Rajhi Bank, the kingdom’s biggest lender, lost 1.2% after posting a slight decline in profit as impairment charges rose between July and September.

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  • 195 out of 198 members of the Tadawul benchmark index dropped
    • Index turns negative for the year, down 2.8%
    • BinDawood Holding, one of the biggest grocery chains in Saudi Arabia that started to trade last week, rose 10% for the third consecutive sessio, to end at SAR127.60
  • Dubai’s DFM General Index falls 0.4%, Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index gains 0.3%
  • Commercial International Bank SAE slumped 7.2% in Cairo after its chairman stepped down amid concerns over governance

  • Indexes in Kuwait and Qatar fall 1.2% and 1.5%, respectively, while Israel’s TA-25 gained 1.2% as of 2:55pm in Tel Aviv

Earnings results:

  • Sabic reported profit for the third quarter of 1.09 billion riyals, +47% y/y
  • Al Rajhi Bank 3Q Profit Drops 3%; Impairment Charges Rise
  • Hail Cement 3Q Profit 22.8M Riyals Vs. 7.59M Riyals Y/y
  • Sulaiman Al Habib 3Q Profit 298.8M Riyals, +51% y/y
  • Bank AlBilad 3Q Profit 382.6m Riyals, +17% y/y
  • United International Transport 3Q Profit 40.5m Riyals, -11% y/y
  • RAK Bank Third Quarter Net Income 132 Mln Dirhams, -54% y/y
  • Al Khalij Commercial Bank 9M Profit 543.5m Riyals, +9.3% y/y

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