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Saudi Shares Rise to 2-Week High on Quarterly Earnings Optimism

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index advanced to the highest in almost two weeks as first-quarter profit at companies including Saudi Telecom Co. beat estimates and after oil rose for the first time in three days yesterday.

The Tadawul All Share Index climbed 1.4 percent to 7,618.07 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh, the highest since April 9. Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s biggest petrochemicals company, whose profit last week exceeded analysts’ forecasts, increased 2 percent. Saudi Telecom, the kingdom’s largest phone-service provider, rose to the highest in more than a year after quarterly net income surged 60 percent.

“Sentiment is strong as first-quarter earnings at most Saudi companies are out, and positive,” said Turki Fadaak, head of research at Riyadh-based Albilad Investment Co. “Sabic’s earnings last week and the raising of the global economic forecast also boosted sentiment.”

Sabic, the company with the heaviest weighting on Saudi Arabia’s index, said April 17 net income for the quarter was 7.27 billion riyals ($1.94 billion), beating the 6.64 billion-riyal average estimate of seven analysts. The stock rose to 104 riyals today, the highest since April 9.

Saudi Telecom shares climbed 3.2 percent to 42.50 riyals, the highest since January 2011, after net income surged to 2.5 billion riyals, beating the 1.92 billion-riyal average forecast of seven analysts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

European stocks capped the first weekly gain since mid-March as the International Monetary Fund raised its forecasts for global economic growth, U.S. corporate earnings beat estimates and German business confidence improved. The STOXX Europe 600 climbed 1.7 percent in the five days through yesterday.

Crude for May delivery yesterday rose 0.8 percent to $103.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, depended on oil for 93 percent of its revenue in 2011.

Saudi Arabia’s stock market is the only Gulf Arab bourse that has trading on Saturdays.

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