Saudi Arabian shares advanced the most in seven months as rising oil prices lifted petrochemicals companies and offset weaker-than-estimated U.S. housing data.
The Tadawul All Share Index climbed 1.8 percent, the steepest increase since Aug. 13, to 7,675.61, at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh. Ten shares rose for every stock that fell. The 152-member index has gained 20 percent this year.
Banque Saudi Fransi (BSFR), a Saudi lender part-owned by Credit Agricole SA, surged the most in a year. Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), the world’s largest petrochemicals maker, gained for a second day.
“Investors are optimistic about petrochemical exports with oil prices rising,” said Turki Fadaak, head of research at Riyadh-based Albilad Investment Co.
Crude oil for May delivery rose 1.4 percent to settle at $106.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday. It touched $108.25 a barrel, the highest intraday price since March 2, after Reuters reported Iranian oil exports will drop by 300,000 barrels a day this month because of tighter sanctions.
A Chinese manufacturing index dropped this month while euro-area services and manufacturing output shrank more than forecast. In the U.S., new home sales fell for a second month in February and purchases of previously owned houses missed economists’ expectations.
Banque Saudi soared 5.7 percent, the biggest advance since March 26, 2011, to 46.50 riyals. Sabic gained 0.9 percent to 107 riyals, the highest price since July 25.
Etihad Atheeb Telecom Co. (EAT) rose 10 percent, or the maximum fluctuation allowed in a trading session, to 13.60 riyals as the Saudi phone company resumed trading after a 10-month suspension.
Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is the only Gulf Arab bourse that opens on Saturdays.
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