Saudi Shares Advance to 5-Month High Before Budget; Yanbu Gains

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index gained to the highest level in almost five months ahead of a budget report by the Arab world’s largest economy.

Yamamah Saudi Cement Co., the kingdom’s third-largest cement company by market value, and Yanbu Cement Co. rallied to the highest level in more than three years. The Tadawul All Share Index rose 0.5 percent to 6,414.47 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh, the highest level since Aug. 3. The gauge has advanced 5.1 percent so far this month. Bahrain’s measure rose the most since March, gaining 1.3 percent.

“Volumes on the Tadawul are climbing up in the final days of 2011,” said Asim Bukhtiar, an equity analyst at Riyad Capital. “The anticipated budget announcement and year-end positioning are the contributing factors.”

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, is expected to announce as early as today its budget for 2012, said Turki Fadaak, head of research at Riyadh-based Albilad Investment Co. King Abdullah announced a $130 billion spending plan in the first quarter in response to the spread of unrest in the Middle East.

About 260 million shares were traded on the Tadawul today, compared with a six-month daily average of 176 million shares. Yamamah gained 2.8 percent to 72.50 riyals, the highest since July 2008. Yanbu Cement surged 4.3 percent to 66.25 riyals, the highest since August 2008.

Aldar Declines

Oil in New York capped its biggest weekly gain in two months. Crude oil for February delivery rose 15 cents to $99.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Dec. 23, the highest settlement since Dec. 13.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia and Qatar, is home to about one-fifth of the world’s proven reserves.

Dubai’s DFM General Index gained 0.1 percent and Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index climbed less than 0.1 percent. Aldar Properties PJSC, an Abu Dhabi-based real-estate developer, dropped 2.4 percent, the biggest decrease since Dec. 21, to 83 fils after the company said its board will meet on Dec. 28 to discuss the sale of unspecified assets.

“The appetite to hold or buy local shares has taken a serious hit as markets repeatedly failed to convert rallies to sustainable uptrend,” said Vipin Karnani, a financial analyst at Al Fahim Group in Abu Dhabi. “Traders have no reason to increase activity in local stocks.”

The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index rose less than 0.1 percent. Oman’s MSM30 Index rose 0.5 percent. Qatar’s QE Index retreated 0.4 percent and Kuwait’s gauge slid less than 0.1 percent.

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