Saudi stocks drop slightly amid quiet trading
Saudi shares dropped 0.6 percent in the week ending Thursday December 6 amid quiet trading in anticipation of the 2002 budget due at the weekend and year-end corporate results, Bakheet Financial Advisors (BFA) said. The NCFEI all-shares index closed at 2,346.38 points, down from 2,360.28 points last week. The index is now 3.9 percent higher than at the start of the year.
"The Saudi stock market continued its fluctuations within narrow borders, as the investors were waiting for the Saudi budget," due on Saturday, BFA said. Weak and unstable oil prices also adversely affected the market, which has been experiencing low trading since the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan on November 16.
Almost all economic reports are forecasting the Saudi budget to boast a small deficit during the current year, and a larger deficit in 2002 due to low oil prices and cuts in production. More than 80 percent of Saudi revenues come from oil.
Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer and exporter, sits on a quarter of proven oil reserves. Stock prices of only 11 companies rose, 39 fell, 11 remained unchanged and 15 issues did not trade. Trading value in the week rose 9.4 percent to 792.1 million riyals ($211.2 million) from last week's 724.3 million riyals ($193.1 million).
The only blue chip gainers were Southern Province Cement Co. and The Saudi British Bank which were up one percent and 0.5 percent respectively. The big losers were Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corp. (ARABIC) and Saudi Hollandi Bank, which dropped by 2.4 percent and 1.6 percent respectively.
The NCFEI is the most capitalized market in the Arab world at more than $70 billion, but operates only as an interbank market system. — (AFP, Riyadh)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)