Saudi Shares Gain on Euro Accord, U.S. Consumer Sentiment

Saudi Arabian shares reached their highest level since August after European leaders agreed to boost a rescue fund and American consumer confidence topped estimates.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s biggest petrochemicals maker known as Sabic, jumped to its highest price in six weeks, while Samba Financial Group, the kingdom’s second largest publicly traded lender by market value, gained the most in a week.

The Tadawul All Share Index added 0.8 percent to 6,302.84, its highest level since Aug. 3 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh. The 149-company gauge extended monthly gains to 3.3 percent. Two shares rose for every stock that dropped.

“It’s a combination of positive factors aligning to buoy investor sentiment,” said Asim Bukhtiar, an equity analyst at Riyad Capital. “The gains on U.S. and European markets over the weekend coupled with the lack of negative surprises from yesterday’s European summit are fueling the upward movement on the Tadawul.”

U.S. stocks rose this week after European leaders agreed to boost a rescue fund and American consumer confidence topped estimates. The S&P 500 rose 0.9 percent and posted its first back-to-back weekly gain since October. The index rallied 1.7 percent yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.6 percent while Europe’s benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index jumped 1.2 percent, the most since Nov. 30.

Debt Rules

European countries enshrined debt rules in a new treaty that leaves out the U.K. instead of amending European Union agreements that date back to the 1950s. The agreement added 200 billion euros ($267 billion) to the region’s war chest and tightened rules to curb future debts. The leaders brought forward the start of a 500 billion-euro rescue fund to next year and diluted a demand that bondholders shoulder losses in rescues.

Oil prices climbed the most in more than a week after a report showed that confidence among U.S. consumers rose to a six-month high. Crude oil for January delivery advanced $1.07 to settle at $99.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday. Saudi Arabia holds 20 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves. The U.S. was the world’s biggest oil-consuming country in 2010, responsible for 22 percent of global oil demand, according to BP Plc.

Sabic rose 1.3 percent to 97.75 riyals, its highest price since Oct. 29 and Samba soared 2.1 percent, the largest gain since Dec. 3, to 48 riyals. National Industrialization Co., the petrochemicals maker known as Tasnee, strengthened 2.3 percent to 40 riyals.


“We are seeing investors picking up names on fundamentals in industrials, chemicals and dairy stocks,” said Bukhtiar. “As agriculture commodities continue to ease during the quarter, such as wheat, corn and sugar, dairy producers should derive benefits during the coming first half.” Savola Al-Azizia United Co., a food producer, advanced to its highest price since Dec. 3, gaining 0.8 percent to 26.40 riyals.

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

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