Saudi Shares Gain for a Third Day as Investors Weigh Earnings Prospects

Saudi Arabian shares rose for a third day, sending the benchmark index to its highest level in almost six months, as investors weighed prospects for earnings.

Almarai Co. (ALMARAI), the desert kingdom’s largest food producer, climbed to a three-week high after saying it will increase its capital. Etihad Etisalat Co. (EEC), the country’s second-largest phone company by market value, also known as Mobily, reached its highest price since October.

The Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) strengthened 0.1 percent to 6,494.77, the highest level since July 24, by the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh. The 150-member gauge erased a drop of as much as 0.3 percent.

“The market is slightly swinging between gains and losses as investors form a full picture of the earnings season,” said Turki Fadaak, head of research at Riyadh-based Albilad Investment Co. That will continue until the earnings season ends Jan. 20, he said.

Almarai gained 1.3 percent to 100.25 riyals, the highest price since Dec. 24. The Riyadh-based company plans to issue one bonus share for every 1.353 held to raise its capital to 4 billion riyals ($1.1 billion) from 2.3 billion riyals. Mobily rose 0.9 percent to 54 riyals.

Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & Co., a clothing retailer, gained 2.7 percent, the most since Dec. 28, to 66 riyals after saying profit in the quarter through December surged 126 percent to 76.5 million riyals on higher sales. The company also recommended a nine-month dividend of 2 riyals a share.

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