(MENAFN - Arab News) The Saudi stock market continued its downward spiral and fell for a fifth session yesterday as investors booked gains from a recent rally.
The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) lost 145.83 points or1.89 percent to close at 7,551.88 points, but the index trimmed its year-to-date gains to 17.7 percent.
A call by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for a crackdown against market manipulation has spooked investors, Reuters quoted analysts as saying.
Commenting on Tadawul's decline Basil Al-Ghalayini, CEO of BMG Financial Group, said: "These consecutive drops were expected as the rises were sudden and fast in which traders have cashed out their gains."
Paul Gamble, head of research at Jadwa Investment, said: "After several months of substantial gains, a period of profit-taking is to be expected. This has been exacerbated by local moves to reduce speculation combined with falls in global markets after weak US employment data and renewed concerns about the euro zone's debt problems, with a particular focus on Spain."
He said the move in the TASI does not reflect the first quarter earnings released so far.
However, Jarmo T. Kotilaine, chief economist at the National Commercial Bank, said: "This suggests that the recent market optimism is being tested. The global market sentiment has turned more fragile in recent days due to weaker data from the US as well as renewed anxiety about the situation of some of the peripheral euro zone economies."
Kotilaine said such factors tend to mainly hit the petrochemicals sector due to oil price anxiety and the banks in connection with concern about the global economy. We are doubtlessly witnessing some profit taking as well.