Egyptian shares extended recent losses on Wednesday as security concerns increased, while a rise in oil prices helped the Saudi market edge higher, bucking the Gulf region trend.
Cairo’s index fell 1.3 percent to hit a new 23-month intraday low after Russia said on Tuesday that an act of terrorism brought down its airliner.
Two employees of Egypt’s Sharm al-Sheikh airport have been detained for questioning over the crash that killed all 224 people aboard, but Cairo later said its investigation yielded no evidence of foul play.
Riyadh’s Tadawul index meanwhile rose 0.4 percent to 6,949 points, trimming its year-to-date losses to 16.6 percent and heading for the psychological support level of 7,000 points.
Brent crude was 1.47 percent higher at 44.20 dollars per barrel at 0829 GMT, after reports of falling stockpiles and rising refinery activity.
Petrochemical shares, accounting for about a quarter of the Saudi market’s total $420 billion market capitalisation, led gains, with the sub-index rising 0.9 percent.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) was 1.5 percent higher.
Trading is likely to remain subdued and volatility low as investors await Saudi Arabia’s 2016 budget announcement in late December.
“Investors don’t want to take risk before they have a direction on spending and budget deficit,” said Ali Adou, a portfolio manager at TNI. “Regional geopolitics is playing a big part.”
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Dubai and Abu Dhabi stocks slipped 0.7 percent apiece, while Qatar dipped 0.4 percent and Kuwait was down 0.2 percent.