The “Khashoggi Report” puts pressure on Saudi stocks



Saudi stocks

Most of the Gulf stock markets closed higher on Sunday despite incurring losses in early trade, while Saudi stocks witnessed a decline.

Saudi stocks fell after US intelligence released a report on Friday saying that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved an operation to arrest or kill Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

The main index in Saudi Arabia fell 0.5 percent, the biggest decline since February 18, Al-Rajhi Bank lost 1.8 percent, while the petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) fell 3 percent.

“I don’t think investors thought there was a great risk that the United States would destroy relations with Saudi Arabia by targeting Mohammed bin Salman … the political stakes in the kingdom are high, and so are the valuations,” said Khaled Abdul Majeed of the investment advisory office, Sam Capital Partners in London. .

The United States imposed sanctions on some of those involved, according to the report, but it excluded the crown prince himself in an effort to preserve relations with the Kingdom.

US officials said that they are considering canceling arms sales to the Kingdom if it is a human rights concern and may limit future arms deals to “defensive” weapons only, while Washington is re-evaluating its relations with Saudi Arabia and its role in the Yemen war.

In Dubai, the main index closed up 1%, supported by the rise of leading Emaar Properties by 2.6% and the increase of Dubai Islamic Bank by 0.8%.

Dubai Financial Market jumped 6%, to become the biggest gainer on the index.

The Dubai Financial Market company said last week that it would restart the normal maximum decline in the prices of listed shares during the one session, amounting to ten percent of the trading session on February 28.

The Abu Dhabi index rose 0.6%, and Etisalat advanced 2.2%.

In Qatar, the index advanced 0.3%, and Masraf Al Rayan rose 1.5%.

Source: Reuters


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