(MENAFN - Arab News) The Saudi stock market is still in a bull run, a top Riyadh-based economist insisted on Tuesday despite a sharp fall in the key index, led by weaker real estate shares.
The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI), which hit a five-year high on Nov. 18, fell 1.3 percent to 8,229.19 points, it's lowest closing level since Nov. 6.
Concerns over local real estate sector sent the stock market falling sharply and analysts suggested that a market-wide sell-off could be the start of investors shifting to more attractive opportunities in neighboring property sectors.
"A correction is expected as we are reaching the year-end and some profit-taking is normal," said John Sfakianakis, chief investment strategist at Masic in Saudi Arabia.
"The market has grown by more than 20 percent this year and given the liquidity and good corporate results, the market is still in a bull run," he told Arab News.
The real estate sector index dropped 3.24 percent to close at 4,619.08.
Shares in Dar Al-Arkan plunged 7.54 percent to SR9.20, while shares in all other real estate companies fell on Tuesday.
The value of traded shares reached SR5.65 billion on Tuesday.
Jarmo T. Kotilaine, a regional analyst, told Arab News: "There have been some indications of lower activity in the recent data with the real estate appearing to be more directly affected than most other sectors. I suspect this is the main concern on the minds of investors.
Hesham Tuffaha, a Riyadh-based fund manager, was quoted as saying by Reuters that valuations of Saudi property stocks are not attractive compared to regional stocks after Dubai was chosen to host the World Expo 2020 and the expectations of increased real estate projects.
Tuffaha said Qatar is looking more attractive on the back of planned developments for the FIFA World Cup 2022.
According to Tadawul's monthly report, at the end of November the Tadawul index closed at 8,325.28 points, gained 280.81 points (3.49 percent) over the close of the previous month.
On an YTD basis, TASI registered a positive increase of 22.41 percent (1,524.06 points). Highest close level for the index during the month was 8,407.88 as on Nov. 18.
Total equity market capitalization at the end of November reached SR1.70 trillion (452.50 billion), increasing by 4.72 percent over the close of the previous month.
The Tadawul report said total value of shares traded in November reached SR94.91 billion (25.30 billion), increasing by 13.32 percent over the previous month.
The total number of shares traded reached 3.43 billion shares during the month of November compared to 3.23 billion shares traded for the previous month, increasing by 6.22 percent.
The total number of transactions executed during November 2013 reached 1.56 million compared to 1.50 million trades for the month of October 2013, increasing by 3.67 percent.