Bloomberg News

Saudi Shares Extend Gains as U.S. Economic Outlook Improves

March 17, 2012

Saudi Arabian shares extended gains, approaching their highest level since the start of the financial crisis, and volume surged as better-than-expected U.S. economic data underpinned global growth prospects.

The Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) rose 0.4 percent to 7,600.57, its highest level since Sept. 14, 2008, at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh. Some 759 million shares traded, compared with a six- month daily average of 312 million. The 152-member index rallied 2.6 percent last week, an eighth consecutive gain the longest streak since April 2005. The gauge is up 18.6 percent this year.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), the world’s largest petrochemicals maker, reached the highest since July. Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Co. (ALARKAN), the kingdom’s second-biggest developer by market value, soared the most in more than six weeks.

“Data released in the U.S. in the past week gave satisfaction to the market,” said Turki Fadaak, head of research at Riyadh-based Albilad Investment Co. “Petrochemical products also slightly rose, boosted by U.S. retail data.”

U.S. stocks gained last week after the central bank said on March 13 that the economic outlook has improved as the labor market strengthens. Claims for jobless benefits matched the lowest level in four years, according to Labor Department data. The S&P 500 added 2.4 percent in the week, climbing to the highest level since May 2008. It has rallied 10 out of 11 weeks this year.

Retail sales in the U.S. rose in February by the most in five months, a report on March 13 showed, reflecting broad-based gains that indicate the world’s largest economy is picking up.

Crude oil for April delivery rose 1.9 percent to $107.06 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday, the highest settlement since March 9. Saudi Arabia relied on oil exports for 93 percent of its revenue in 2011.

Sabic gained 1 percent to 106.50 riyals, the highest since July 25. Dar Al Arkan surged 7 percent to 12.20 riyals, the biggest increase since Feb. 1.

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

To contact the reporter on this story: Mourad Haroutunian in Riyadh at mharoutunian@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net


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