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Saudi Shares Drop Most in More Than Two Weeks on Oil, U.S. Jobs

Saudi Arabian shares fell the most in more than two weeks after oil slipped below $100 a barrel for the first time since February and a decline in U.S. job additions fueled concern the country’s economic growth may slow.

The Tadawul All Share Index dropped 1.3 percent, the most since April 15, to 7,450.26 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh. Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s biggest petrochemicals maker also known as Sabic, also declined the most since April 15. Al-Rajhi Bank, the country’s largest lender by market value, retreated 1 percent.

“Petrochemicals are leading declines because of the drop in the price of oil and the U.S. jobs report, which fell below expectations,” Turki Fadaak, head of research at Albilad Investment Co., said by phone from Riyadh. “But we don’t expect an extended retreat as fundamentals remain strong in the Saudi market.”

Crude oil for June delivery tumbled $4.05 to $98.49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Feb. 7. The drop came after American employers reported adding 115,000 jobs April, the lowest figure in six months. Slowing job creation may make it difficult for consumers to boost their spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the world’s largest economy.

Still, Saudi companies, which started reporting first-quarter financial results in April, have exceeded expectations. Al-Rajhi is among five lenders which posted earnings that beat estimates as lending increased in the Arab world’s biggest economy.

Al-Rajhi dropped to 77.5 riyals, the lowest level since April 16.

Sabic, the company with the heaviest weighting in Saudi Arabia’s index at 11 percent, fell 1.7 percent to 101.5 riyals. Profit was 7.27 billion riyals ($1.9 billion) in the first quarter, beating the 6.64 billion-riyal average estimate of seven analysts, the company said April 17.

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is the only Gulf Arab bourse operating on Saturdays.

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