Most Gulf stock markets remained weak on Tuesday because of concern about volatile oil prices and the outlook for the global economy, while Egypt rallied on the back of buying by foreign investors.
The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index climbed in the opening minutes but soon turned lower and closed down 0.7 percent. Major food producer Savola plunged 9.7 percent.
The value of traded shares reached SR4.26 billion.
SPPC, SRMG and Sagr Insurance were among companies saw their shares making considerable gains.
Rising debt insurance costs showed foreign investors continuing to hedge against geopolitical risk in the Gulf; five-year Saudi credit default swaps, used to hedge against a sovereign debt default, climbed a further 7 points on Tuesday to 173 points, the highest level since at least 2010.
But instability in the global economy is still a bigger worry than geopolitics for the Saudi stock market, and it continued to dampen the petrochemical sector on Tuesday.
Heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries slid 2.3 percent and Advanced Petrochemical lost 3.6 percent.
Both companies announced last week that their operating costs would increase after the government reduced price support for natural gas feedstock and hiked electricity tariffs.
Some banks recovered part of the previous session’s losses.
Islamic lender Alinma rose 1.4 percent, after sliding 3.7 percent on Monday.
Al-Rajhi, the largest retail Islamic bank, advanced 2.4 percent for its fourth straight session of gains. Elsewhere in the Gulf, Abu Dhabi’s index .rose 1.6 percent on the back of gains in some blue-chip banks; First Gulf Bank jumped 3.3 percent and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank added 3.4 percent.
But Dubai edged down 0.2 percent and Qatar fell 0.8 percent in a broad-based decline.
However, Qatar’s Islamic Holding, a financial and investment firm, surged 8.3 percent in unusually heavy trade; the company is boosting its capital by as much as 50 percent through a rights issue.
Eligibility for the rights closed on Dec. 1 and subscriptions to the issue will run from Dec. 27 to Jan. 13.
Egypt rose 0.6 percent with exchange data showing non-Arab foreign investors were net buyers by a large margin.