Saudi Arabian Shares Drop to January 2004 Low; Sabic Falls

By Fiona MacDonald

Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) — Saudi Arabian shares dropped to the lowest in almost five years as Saudi Basic Industries Corp. extended the shutdown of a plant in Europe and on concern the global economic slowdown will impact growth in the kingdom.

Saudi Basic, or Sabic, dropped to the lowest since June 2004. Al-Rajhi Bank, the country’s largest bank by market value, declined for a fourth day and Etihad Etislat Co. retreated the most since October. The shares of all three companies lost almost 10 percent.

The Tadawul All Share Index plunged 9.2 percent, the most since Oct. 6, to 4,431.57 at the close in Riyadh. The measure closed at its lowest since January 2004. Of the stocks in the index, 122 fell, one rose and two were unchanged.

“Investors are panicking due to the global crisis,” Abdulla al-Aqil, a trader at Samba Financial Group, said in a phone interview from Riyadh.

European stocks had their second-worst week this year as concern deepened that a worsening economy is stifling profits. Citigroup Inc. will probably get rescued by the U.S. government after a crisis in confidence erased half its stock-market value in three days, investors and analysts said. General Motors Corp. said it will idle production for an additional week at four plants, extend the closing of an engineering center and return some corporate jets, as the company seeks U.S. aid to avoid running out of cash.

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