Saudi Shares Rise to 3-Week High on Safco, Mobily Announcements

Saudi Arabian shares rose to the highest level in almost three weeks, led by petrochemicals and telecommunication stocks responding to company announcements and after U.S. job growth exceeded forecasts.

Etihad Etisalat Co., the country’s second-largest telecommunications operator, advanced to a six-year high. Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co., owned 43 percent by Saudi Basic Industries Corp., rose to the most in more than four years.

The Tadawul All Share Index gained 0.7 percent to 6778.09 at the 3:30 p.m. end of trading in Riyadh, the highest close since Nov. 17. The Arab world’s biggest stock exchange has gained 5.6 percent this year.

U.S. stocks advanced for a third week, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index posting its longest winning streak since August. American employers hired 146,000 workers in November and the jobless rate fell to an almost four-year low of 7.7 percent.

Oil posted its first weekly decline since early November and the dollar strengthened against the euro after the U.S. job data. Crude for January delivery dropped 33 cents to $85.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday. Saudi Arabia is content with current prices, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said yesterday.

Raise Capital

Saudi Arabian Fertilizer, or Safco, rose 4 percent to 156 riyals after publishing a plan to increase its capital by a third. Etihad Etisalat, known as Mobily, climbed 2.7 percent to 77 riyals after saying it would resume sales to new subscribers on prepaid sim cards. It reached 77.25 riyals, the highest since September 2006.

Safco’s announcement it would raise capital to 3.3 billion riyals ($880 million) and “Mobily announcing the resumption of sim-card sales, which constitute 60 percent of their revenue, definitely has had a huge positive effect on trading today,” said Mohammed Al-Omran, financial analyst and president of the Gulf Center for Financial Consultancy in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is the only Persian gulf bourse operating Saturdays.

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