Shares rise in Saudi on earnings outlook

29/03/2009 00:00 AST

Saudi Arabian shares rose in the week’s first day of trading yesterday, led by Saudi Basic Industries Corp, on expectations of positive first quarter results.

The Tadawul All Share Index advanced 2.4% to 4,752.37 in Riyadh. It has fallen 1% this year, after losing more than half its value in 2008 as oil prices dropped. Sabic, the world’s biggest chemical maker by market value, climbed 5.9% to 43 riyals. Al-Rajhi Bank, the largest lender in the kingdom by market value, gained 1.9% to 52.75 riyals, valuing it at 79.1bn riyals ($21bn).

Savola Al Azizia United Co, Saudi Arabia’s largest food producer, jumped 9.8% to 20.8 riyals.

“Investors are optimistic about the first quarter results,” Abdulla al-Aqil, a trader at Samba Financial Group, said in a telephone interview yesterdas from Riyadh. “The rumor on the market is that they are going to be good, so that’s why it’s doing well. US stocks also had a positive impact.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained for a third week, pushing it toward the biggest monthly advance since 1991, after a government plan to rid banks of toxic assets and improving economic reports ignited a rally that sent the US stocks benchmark into a bull market.

Saudi Cement Co, the second-largest seller of building materials in the kingdom by market value, climbed 7% to 57 riyals. The company on Wednesday approved a cash dividend of 3.5 riyals a share for 2008.

Riyad Bank rose 5.4% to 21.3 riyals, making its biggest gain since November 29 last year. “The Saudi stock market will continue its narrow fluctuation while investors will be eyeing the upcoming corporate results of listed companies,” Bakheet Investment Group said in its weekly stock market report on Wednesday. “They will be following news of the international market closely, especially that of the US to build a clear perspective about the market’s future performance under the current economic conditions.”

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