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Saudi Shares Drop, Led by Saudi Cement Co.; Samba Bank Declines

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March 23 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index snapped a two-day advance, led by petrochemicals and banks.

The Tadawul All Share Index lost less than 0.1 percent to 7,094.18 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh. Saudi Arabian Cement Co., Saudi Arabia’s second-biggest maker of building materials by market value, declined to the lowest level in three months, while Samba Financial Group, the second-largest lender in the kingdom, fell to the lowest since March 10. The Arab world’s biggest stock exchange has added 4.3 percent this year.

“Today we witnessed a subdued trading with a low range and a low volume in a minor decline due to ex-cash dividends of Samba and Saudi Cement,” Mohammed Al-Omran, a financial analyst and president of the Gulf Center for Financial Consultancy in Riyadh, said by e-mail.

The Saudi index is in an “up trend” and may rise above 7,100 by the end of the week due to a positive sentiment among investors toward expected first-quarter results, he said.

Samba Financial Group slid 0.1 percent to 44.2 riyals. Saudi Arabian Cement Co. dropped 5 percent to 92.75 riyals

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

To contact the reporter on this story: Deema Almashabi in Riyadh at dalmashabi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

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