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Saudi Arabian’s benchmark stock index rose for a third day, its longest winning streak in two months, after Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) proposed paying the highest annual cash dividend since 2005.

Saudi Basic, also known as Sabic, is the world’s largest petrochemicals maker and accounts for 12 percent of the Saudi benchmark index. The shares jumped the most in two weeks. Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Co. (ALARKAN) climbed for a fifth day. The Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) rose 0.2 percent to 6,267.38 at 2:26 p.m. in Riyadh. It’s up 1.3 percent over the past three days, the longest streak of gains since the four days ended Oct. 10. Dubai’s DFM General Index (DFMGI) added 0.4 percent.

“The Saudi market is gaining on Sabic’s dividend,” which is stirring optimism about upcoming earnings releases at other Saudi companies, said Dubai-based Ibrahim Masood, who helps manage about $400 million at Mashreqbank PSC. (MASQ)

The board of Riyadh-based Sabic recommended a second-half dividend of 3 riyals a share after paying 2 riyals for the first six months. That made the 2011 cash dividend the company’s highest since 2005, according to data posted on the Saudi bourse website. The company beat earnings estimates in October as petrochemical demand grew in China and India.

Sabic advanced as much as 2.4 percent, the most since Dec. 5, to 96 riyals, before trading at 95 riyals. Dar Al Arkan rose 1.4 percent to 7.2 riyals.

The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) of equities in the Gulf region strengthened 0.3 percent and Kuwait’s key index (KWSEIDX) rose 0.2 percent. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index (ADSMI) fell for a fifth day, slipping less than 0.1 percent. Oman’s MSM30 Index (MSM30) lost 0.1 percent, while Qatar’s and Bahrain’s bourses were closed for a national holiday.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at; Shaji Mathew at

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