Bloomberg News

Saudi Shares Surge Most in Six Months After Week-Long Holiday

September 03, 2011

Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabian shares, led by petrochemicals and banks, soared the most since March on the first day of trading after a week-long holiday.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s biggest petrochemicals maker, and National Industrialization Co., known as Tasnee, rallied the most since April while Banque Saudi Fransi, the kingdom’s fourth-largest publicly traded lender by assets, strengthened more than 4 percent.

The 148-member Tadawul All Share Index added 2.1 percent, the biggest gain since March 26, to 6,106.93 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh. All 15 industry groups rose.

“The market today is playing catch-up after a week’s closure for Eid in lieu of gains made earlier in both global equities and oil,” said Fuad Aghabi, a director at Ajeej Capital in Riyadh, even though “the international equity markets slumped yesterday on disappointing U.S. monthly non-farm payroll numbers.”

Oil gained 1.5 percent since the Saudi market closed on Aug. 24 for the Islamic Eid Al Fitr holiday. Crude for October delivery settled at $86.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday. Saudi Arabia holds one-fifth of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose five days in seven. The S&P 500 weakened 2.5 percent and the Dow lost 2.2 percent yesterday after a report showing employment stagnated in August fueled concern the U.S. economy may slip into a recession.

Sabic rose 2.5 percent, the largest gain since April 20, to 94.25 riyals. Tasnee jumped 6.2 percent, the biggest gain since April 5, to 37.50 riyals. Banque Saudi gained 4.3 percent, the largest gain since March 26, to 41.50 riyals. Almost 119 million shares traded today, compared with a six-month daily average of 200 million shares.

“These gains may be short-lived if global markets continue with Friday’s draw-downs next week on further weak economic indicators and/or if the European debt crisis escalates again,” said Aghabi.

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is the only Gulf Arab bourse open on Saturdays.

--Editors: Digby Lidstone, Peter Torday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mourad Haroutunian in Riyadh at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at

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