Riyadh: The Saudi market slipped early on Sunday, while other Gulf markets were mixed, as investors monitored geopolitical tensions in the region and some liquidated positions ahead of a long public holiday next week.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will host two emergency summits on May 30 for Gulf and Arab leaders to discuss the implications of attacks against the kingdom and neighbouring United Arab Emirates earlier this month.
Riyadh has accused Tehran of ordering the recent drone strikes on two oil pumping stations in the kingdom, claimed by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group. The attack came two days after four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Iran has denied the claims.
Saudi Arabia has said it wants to avoid war but will respond “with all strength and determination” if the other party chooses one.
The Saudi index fell 0.5 per cent, with most banks and petrochemical shares extending the losses that sent the market 1.4 per cent lower on Thursday.
The index fell 8.6 per cent from the beginning of May until Thursday’s close, in a sell-off triggered by global trade disputes and regional geo-political tensions. The market, however, is still up 8.8 per cent year-to-date, driven mainly by foreign capital flows into Saudi stocks.
Many investors prefer to cash in their stock holdings ahead of the long Eid Holiday that officially starts by the end of trading on Thursday, lasting for a week in Saudi Arabia and at least three days in other Gulf countries.
Al Rajhi Bank lost 0.7 per cent, SAMBA Bank fell 1.7 per cent and Riyad Bank lost 1.5 per cent, while petrochemical firm SIPCHEM fell 0.9 per cent.
Property developer Jabal Omar lost 0.6 per cent after announcing its CEO’s resignation, while SEERA , the kingdom’s largest travel and tourism firm, fell 2.2 per cent.
In Dubai, the index fell 0.3 per cent with property developer Emaar and courier firm Aramex losing 0.7 per cent each.
Property firm Damac jumped 1.24 per cent in early trade before paring gains to stand just 0.3 per cent higher.
HSBC, in a research note, forecast a fall in the company’s net 2019 profit of 72% from last year, revising its estimates following weak Q1 results but maintaining a ‘HOLD’ rating on stock.
The Abu Dhabi index rose 0.3 per cent with only lacklustre trading in a handful of stocks. First Abu Dhabi Bank gained 0.6 per cent and Dana Gas inched up 0.2 per cent.
In Qatar, the index fell 0.6 per cent as bank shares declined.
Qatar Islamic Bank and Qatar Commercial Bank dropped 1.1 per cent each while Qatar National Bank lost 0.9 per cent.