Shares in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s biggest stock market, gained as companies started to release quarterly results.
Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co., a unit of Saudi Basic Industries Corp. rose to the highest level since May 2. Almarai Co., the kingdom’s largest food producer by market value, gained the most since June 16 after announcing an 8.7 percent increase in second-quarter net income. Jarir Marketing Co. gained the most in a week after reporting an 8.4 percent gain in quarterly earnings.
The Tadawul All Share Index advanced 0.4 percent to 6,859.59 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh. The index had declined as much as 0.7 percent during trading today.
“The market is waiting for the results of the leading companies,” Turki Fadaak, the head of research at Albilad Investment Co. in Riyadh, said today. “The market will be on a flat path until more corporate results are released.”
The Saudi market fell in early trading today after U.S. stocks declined for the week after American employers hired fewer workers than forecast in June, showing the labor market is making scant progress toward reducing joblessness. The unemployment rate held at 8.2 percent.
With concerns about slowing economic growth, the European Central Bank reduced its benchmark rate to a record low, while ECB President Mario Draghi said the cut may only have a limited effect on the euro-area economy. China also lowered rates in a bid to expand investments and consumption.
“There is a very uncertain global backdrop,” said Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist at Jeddah-based National Commercial Bank. “We will get a steady trickle of bad news, which will depress markets. It is very hard to see a clear trend emerging.”
Saudi Arabian Fertilizer gained 6.9 percent, the most since March 5, 2011, to 185 riyals. Almarai gained 1.2 percent to 65.25 riyals. Jarir, Saudi Arabia’s largest stationery and electronic products retailer, rose 0.7 percent to 150.5 riyals.
Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is the only Gulf Arab bourse open on Saturdays.