(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi shares came under selling pressures last week amid expectations of retreating profits, particularly for the banking sector.
The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) shed nearly 2 percent last week, closing at 6,121.76 points, which represented a 27.5 percent rise since the beginning of 2009, according to the weekly report of the Riyadh-based Bakheet Investment Group (BIG).
The retreat was aggravated by statistics published last week by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), which predicted a 20 percent decline in banks' profits in November compared with those for October, the report said.
The BIG expected the Saudi market to be the scene for "narrow fluctuations" next week with investors eyeing the results of listed firms for the fourth quarter of 2009.
Last week, the Capital Market Authority (CMA) announced the final decisions of the Committee for the Settlement of Securities Disputes against investors. The CMA has imposed sanctions on five people for insider trading and stock price manipulation.
Jazan Development Co. was the top gainer last week as its shares surged over 3 percent to SR13.45. Shares in Mouwasat Medical Services Co. rose by 2.51 percent to SR61.25, National Agriculture Marketing Co. by 2.15 percent to SR42.80, Jarir Marketing Co. by 2.10 percent to SR133.75 and Fawaz Alhokair Co. by 1.65 percent to SR36.90.
The major losers last week were Al-Sagr Cooperation Co., down 15.08 percent, Anaam International Holding Group Co. (10.78 percent), Saudi Pharmaceutical Industr. & Medical Appliances Corp. (9.06 percent), Al-Rajhi Company for Cooperative Insurance (7.53 percent) and Allied Cooperative Insurance Group (7.30 percent).
Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) shares dropped slightly to SR82.50 last week.
The value of Saudi traded shares increased to SR13.95 billion last week from SR12.57 billion in the previous week.
Arab stock markets are expected to focus attention early in the new year on the annual results of listed firms which are expected to start going out next week, financial analysts said Friday.
"Regional stocks are expected to move sideways in the coming period as investors are apparently concerned over the 2009 results," an Amman-based portfolio manager said.
"We believe that annual profits will represent the main moving factor for Arab markets in the coming couple of weeks," he said.
"However, developments on global markets, clues to world recovery and oil prices will continue to be key elements to reckon with," he added.
Jordanian shares were narrowly volatile last week with persistent lack of liquidity and weak foreign buying, analysts said.
The all-share price index of the Amman Stock Exchange closed week flat at 2,534 points, according to the ASE weekly report.
Kuwait's KSE all-share price index shed 0.7 percent last week, closing at 7,005 points.
The all-share index of the Dubai stock exchange went up by 2.6 percent last week to close at 1,804 points, while the Abu Dhabi bourse gained 2.8 percent to close week at 2,774 points.
The UAE stocks gained only 10 percent throughout 2009 retreating from a 50 percent rise in June. "It was the most volatile year in the country's stocks history," said Walid Khatib, head of trading at the Dubai-based Daman brokerage firm.
He expected UAE and other regional markets to be responsive to developments relating to the Dubai World debt rescheduling moves and other regional events in the coming weeks.
Egypt's AGX30 index, measuring performance of the market's 30 most active stocks, lost 2.7 percent last week to close at 6,209 points.
The GulfBase GCC Index fell 0.89 percent to 3,726.06 points last week. The value of GCC traded shares, however, surged by 10.57 percent to 5.79 billion and volume increased by 1.08 percent to 3.76 billion of shares.
By Abdul Jalil Mustafa