Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index rose the most in two weeks, driven by banks and petrochemical companies following advances in U.S. and European shares and the price of oil.
Samba Financial Group, the second-largest publicly traded lender in Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s largest petrochemical maker, lifted the Tadawul All Share Index the most since July 10. The benchmark jumped 1.6 percent to 6,187.39 at 3:30 p.m. in Riyadh.
“A general feeling-good factor is pervading,” said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi in Riyadh. “It is based on overall thin volumes, as oil is above $78 and global markets performed well over the past two days.”
U.S., European and developing-nation markets advanced this week. The S&P 500 gained 3.6 percent, the Dow climbed 3.2 percent and the Stoxx 600 soared 3.2 percent.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which tracks developing-nation equity markets, advanced for a fourth day yesterday to its highest level in 11 weeks.
Oil has risen 4.4 percent this month. Crude for September delivery settled at $78.98 a barrel in New York yesterday. Saudi Arabia holds one-fifth of the world’s proven oil reserves.
The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and the summer holiday season are keeping “major players” out, while “small investors are pushing the market up,” said Younas Malick, senior economist at National Commercial Bank in Jeddah.
Samba climbed the most in seven weeks, gaining 6.5 percent to 59.7 riyals. Al Rajhi Bank rose 1.7 percent, the most since July 10, to 76.5 riyals.
Deals With China
Saudi Basic, or Sabic, increased 2 percent, the most in almost two weeks, to 88.25 riyals. Sabic said on June 21 its second-quarter sales rose 63 percent as demand for fertilizers and plastics increased with the global economic recovery. The company separately signed deals with Chinese companies to sell them products valued at 6 billion yuan ($885.4 million).
Saudi Chemical Co., a distributor of drugs made by AstraZeneca Plc and GlaxoSmithKline Plc, rose 0.7 percent to 46.6 riyals, the highest level since August 2008.
Saudi Arabia’s index is the only Gulf Arab index tracked by Bloomberg that trades on Saturday.