DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s stock market gave up early gains to end lower on Monday, as investor sentiment struggled to recover from last week’s selloff amid fears of a slowdown in economic growth.
Gulf stock markets lost ground last week, reflecting investors’ anxiety about fast-rising inflation that will drive a sharp rise in interest rates and put global economy growth at risk.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index dropped 1.8%, dragged down by a 3.7% slide in Al Rajhi Bank and a 4.5% decline in the country’s largest lender Saudi National Bank .
However, oil giant Saudi Aramco added 0.4% after it reported an almost 82% rise in first-quarter net profit, broadly in line with analyst forecasts.
Aramco, which is at par with Apple Inc as the world’s most valuable company, reported a net income of $39.5 billion for the quarter to March 31, from $21.7 billion a year earlier.
Brent crude prices ended the first quarter up almost 70% at $107.91 a barrel from end of March 2021, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine exacerbated concerns over petroleum supplies.
The Qatari index dropped 1.6%, with Commercial Bank declining 6.2% and Masraf Al Rayan down 4.4%.
Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial market, fell as widespread lockdowns in China and the country’s weak economic data fuelled fears of a global recession, though the market found some support as the European Union stepped closer to an import ban on Russian crude.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index retreated 0.7%. Dubai and Abu Dhabi bourse were closed for a public holiday.