DUBAI: Bourses in Saudi Arabia and Egypt fell in early trade on Tuesday as investors cashed out following a resumption in declines of global stocks and worries over further weakness in oil markets.
Brent broke below $30 a barrel in Asian trade, as fresh worries about oversupply from top producers Saudi Arabia and Iraq spooked the market.
In Riyadh the stock index fell 1.6 percent in the first half hour of trade, with petrochemical stocks weighing on the bourse.
Petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC), the largest stock by market value on the bourse, was down 1.6 percent. Peer companies, Petro Rabigh and Saudi Kayan each fell more than 3.0 percent.
The low oil price is also hitting consumer spending in the kingdom. Households’ disposable income is slowing, said Muhammad al-Agil, chairman of Jarir Marketing Co..
Jarir was down 1.7 percent in early trade. The electronics and stationary seller was the first Saudi retailer to report quarterly reports, and it posted a net profit flat to the previous year.
“We lowered our earnings estimates (for Jarir) for 2016 onwards based on decelerating growth in estimated consumer non essential spending,” said a note by Saudi’s Aljazira Capital. But they maintained a ‘buy’ recommendation on the stock because it is trading at an attractive valuation and dividend yield.
The retail sector was down 1.9 percent, taking its losses this year to 27.8 percent. The broader Saudi stock market was down 20.0 percent in 2016.
Othaim Markets proved to be the most resilient in that area and recorded 19 percent year-on-year growth in sales in the fourth quarter, said a note by Kuwait’s NBK Capital.
“We believe that Othaim’s focus on basic necessities makes it best positioned to withstand economic headwinds,” added the note. The stock traded down 1.9 percent.
Egypt’s benchmark was down 1.3 percent in thin trade. Orascom Telecom, the most traded stock, fell 1.8 percent.
Financial related stocks Commercial International Bank and Qalaa Holdings each fell more than 1.0 percent.