(Menafn-Arab News) JEDDAH, 11 January 2007 — The Saudi stock market lost 4.71 percent in the first five days of trading this year. The Tadawul All-Share index plunged 222.95 points or 2.86 percent to 7,559.62, its lowest close in more than two years yesterday. The index dropped 52.53 percent in 2006 after surging 103.66 percent in 2005 and 84.93 percent in 2004.
Out of 86 stocks traded, shares of only two companies — Saudi Advanced Industries Co. and Al-Baha Investment and Development — rose while shares of all other companies declined yesterday.
Over SR13.5 billion worth of shares changed hands yesterday.
Fears of weak earnings made investors nervous. Banking stocks were hit the hardest. Al-Rajhi Bank and Bank Albilad shares suffered heavily. Bank Albilad shared edged lower by 3.85 percent to SR37.50 and Al-Rajhi Bank shares were down by 3.44 percent to SR175.25.
Bank AlJazirah shares also declined 5.31 percent to SR120.25.
In the Industrial sector, shares of major companies tumbled yesterday. Arabian Pipes Co. shares dropped by maximum limit of 10 percent to SR54. Saudi Basic Industries Corp. shares fell 2.39 percent to SR102.
Shares of newly listed Al-Babtain Power & Telecommunication Co. in the Industrial sector and Fawaz Abudlaziz Alhokair Co. in the Services sector fell by 9.89 percent and 9.94 percent respectively.
In the Telecom sector, shares of Saudi Telecom Co. dropped 2.77 percent to SR79 and Etihad Etisalat by 3.43 percent to SR49.25.
The Agriculture sector was also in the red as shares of all companies dropped sharply yesterday.
The Tadawul index rose 35.89 points to 7,969.18 on Saturday, the first day of trading in 2007.
Meanwhile, Commerce and Industry Minister Hashim Yamani yesterday approved the transformation of Rana Investment Co. into a closed joint stock company with a capital of SR300 million and 30 million shares, each valuing SR10.
The Riyadh-based company's founders have subscribed to all its shares. It is licensed to establish and manage investment funds and investment portfolios as well as to provide consultancy services and broker services for international stocks.