Worries over king’s health sink Tadawul

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was admitted to hospital last Wednesday and diagnosed with pneumonia, triggering speculation and concern from investors.

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with pneumonia. Brendan Smialowski / AP Photo
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Saudi shares declined sharply yesterday despite assurances from the kingdom’s crown prince over the health of King Abdullah.

The Tadawul All-Share Index declined 2.9 per cent to 8,106.80 points. Petrochemical stocks, in addition to building and construction companies, led the fall. Saudi Basic Industries (Sabic) fell 4.5 per cent to 79.55 Saudi riyals a share.

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was admitted to hospital last Wednesday and diagnosed with pneumonia, triggering speculation and concern from investors.

“It’s a short-lived effect,” said Tariq Qaqish, the head of asset management at Al Mal Capital in Dubai. “The uncertainty over the king’s health, coupled with the drop in oil prices and weak international markets, are dampening trading sentiment.”

Equity investors have previously reacted to rumours surrounding the king’s health, most recently in March and September last year.

The king, born in 1924, appointed a deputy crown prince in March last year, the first time in the history of Saudi Arabia. The crown prince, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, was born in 1935.

halsayegh@thenational.ae

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