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Investing like a Saudi Prince

By Dian Vujovich

Hey, just because you’re a Saudi Prince doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be on the right side of the market. Oil in the neighborhood or not, when you’re in the stock market, you’re in the stock market.

Since misery loves company, particularly when it comes to comparing notes on who has gotten hurt the most in the market, Saudi Prince AlWaleed bin Talal’s investment company Kingdom Holding (KHC) saw its net profits dive 83.4 percent during the first quarter of this year, according to an AP wire report. Ouch.

But that’s nothing new. Returns for this global investment firm weren’t anything to crow about in the previous quarter, either.

Kingdom Holding went public in 2007 on the Tadawul, that’s the Saudi Stock Exchange, and invests in companies like Citigroup, Apple, and the Ritz Carlton. The report said that it’s blaming the dive on falling profits in the international and local markets as well as the downturn in banks and the hotel business.

Alwaleed is an interesting guy, though. He’s in his early 50’s, the grandson of King Abdulaziz Alsaud, the founder and first ruler of Saudi Arabia, and Riad El Solh, Lebanon’s first prime minister. Educated in the United States, he received his B.S. degree in Business Administration and graduated magna cum laude from Menlo College in California. And, earned a Masters in Social Sciences with Honors at Syracuse University.

But no matter the pedigree, education or amount of moola within one’s coffers, playing around in the stock market at this or for that matter any other point in time has consequences. Thus, investing like a Saudi Prince might not come with the cache one might have hoped.

Bottom line: Forget about it. You’re probably doing better on your own.

In case you’ve forgotten, when the first quarter of 2009 ended the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 13.3 percent, the S&P 500 down 11 percent. Even the worst performing mutual fund that quarter wasn’t off as much as KHC. It, the very leveraged Direxion:Final Bull 3x, was down 78 percent.

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