Saudi Arabia Shares Rise as STC Profit Climbs, Ramadan Begins

Saudi Arabian shares climbed to the highest in a week after Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) and food producer Savola Group (SAVOLA) reported an increase in profit and as Ramadan, the month when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, began.

Saudi Telecom Co., the kingdom’s largest phone company, advanced 5.8 percent after profit beat analysts’ estimates. Savola jump the most in 11 months after profit surged 48 percent. Saudi Basic (SABIC) Industries Corp., the world’s biggest petrochemical maker, advanced to the highest since July 10. The Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) gained 0.6 percent to 6,665.65, the highest since July 14, at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh. The measure has risen 3.9 percent this year.

“Volumes are expected to be light as Ramadan gets under way,” Asim Bukhtiar, head of research at Riyad Capital, said in response to e-mailed questions. “With the earnings season winding up, investors will take time to absorb the results and take positions accordingly. Saturday trading does tend to respond to Friday closing on the international markets.”

U.S. stocks rose for the week, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its first back-to-back gain since June, as results from International Business Machines Corp. to Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) beat estimates and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he’s prepared to add stimulus.

About 185 million shares traded on the Tadawul today, compared with a 12-month daily average of 335 million.

Saudi Telecom advanced to 38.2 riyals after net income rose 7 percent to 2.4 billion riyals ($640 million). The mean estimate of eight analysts was for a profit of 2.24 billion riyals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Savola gained 4.8 percent to 35.10 riyals after the company reported second-quarter profit of 341.3 million riyals as sales increased and it added market share in the retail industry. Saudi Basic rose 1.2 percent to 87.75 riyals.

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is the only Persian Gulf bourse operating on Saturdays.

To contact the reporter on this story: Glen Carey in Riyadh at gcarey8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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