Saudi Shares Head for Highest Close in Two Weeks on Oil, Europe

Saudi Arabia’s shares were set for the highest close in more than two weeks after crude oil advanced on speculation banks will take steps to bolster global growth as investors await the result of Greek elections.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s biggest petrochemicals maker, advanced 1.4 percent. Al Rajhi Bank, the kingdom’s largest lender by market value, was poised for the highest close in almost a week. The Tadawul All Share Index climbed 0.8 percent to 6,797.46 at 12:02 p.m. in Riyadh, headed for the highest close since May 30.

“The latest developments in international markets and oil prices are supporting the Saudi market,” said Riyadh-based Turki Fadaak, head of research at Albilad Investment Co. “Investors are awaiting the outcome of the Greek elections.”

Saudi Arabia, the Arab region’s largest economy, gets more than 90 percent of government revenue from oil sales. The Saudi economy grew 5.9 percent last quarter from a year earlier as crude output rose and the state boosted spending, according to government data. Oil for July delivery climbed 0.1 percent to $84.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday.

The Greek vote tomorrow may determine whether the country remains in the euro bloc. Policy makers from the U.K. to Japan and Canada have stepped up warnings of the threat to financial markets should Europe fail to contain its debt crisis. The Federal Reserve starts a two-day meeting June 19.

U.S. stocks rose yesterday, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its first back-to-back weekly gain since April. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.9 percent last week after the Bank of England announced credit-easing measures.

Saudi Basic Industries, or Sabic, rose to 91.5 riyals, the highest intraday level since June 11, and Al Rajhi Bank advanced 1 percent to 74.5 riyals, poised for the highest close since June 11.

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

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