RIYAD: Saudi Arabia’s main stock index, TASI, ended lower on Thursday as rising cases of COVID-19, the omicron strain in particular, scared investors.

The Saudi Ministry of Health on Wednesday confirmed 3,045 new cases of COVID-19 in the Kingdom, up from just 34 on December 1.

Global indices also pushed the TASI and regional indices down. The Fed minutes signaled a possibility of raising interest rates earlier than expected amid a tight labor market and high inflation, Reuters reported.

TASI edged down 0.2% to end the day at 11,431 points, while parallel market Nomu rose 1.1% to 25,618.

On Nomu, the gains went to Saudi IT firm Advance International Co., or AICTEC, which topped the winners on its first day of trading, rising 30% to SR143 ($ 38).

TASI has been dragged down by the crashes of some of the Kingdom’s most valuable companies, including Al Rajhi Bank, SABIC, oil giant Aramco, who all traded in the red zone today.

Leading the losses, Batic Investments and Logistics Co. experienced a 5% drop in its share price, reaching SR22.2.

Alujain Holding Corp. topped the winners, up 4.2 percent. The company has appointed Khalid Aldawood as Managing Director effective January 9, 2022.

International Red Sea CompanyThe action of. jumped 2.8%, following the signing of an extension contract with oil services company Schlumberger, to support its oil drilling operations in the Eastern region.

Shares of Saudi Real Estate Co., known as Al Akaria, rose 1.3% to SR 20.5 after purchasing SR 727 million land in Riyadh for infrastructure development.

In energy trading, Brent crude hit nearly $ 82 a barrel, while U.S. WTI crude hit $ 79 a barrel after OPEC + stuck to plans to increase production in February and unrest erupted in Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s largest oil producer.