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Saudi Arabian Shares Rise, Led by Banks, Petrochemicals

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index rose the most in two weeks, led by banks, petrochemicals and telecommunication companies, amid optimism about fourth-quarter earnings and gains in U.S. equities.

Al Rajhi Bank, the kingdom’s biggest bank by market value, climbed to the highest since Jan. 20. Saudi Basic Industries Corp., known as Sabic, advanced the most in more than two weeks, while Saudi Telecom Co. increased the most in a week.

The Tadawul All Share Index added 0.4 percent to 7,025.31 at the close in Riyadh, the biggest gain since Jan. 12.

“Investors are optimistic after the release of annual preliminary results of companies last week,” Turki Fadaak, head of research and consultancy at Albilad Investment Co., wrote in an e-mail. “This week will give important indications on how investors will behave towards those results.”

U.S. stocks rose for an eighth day yesterday, the longest winning streak since 2004. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has climbed to the highest level since December 2007 and is poised for a third straight month of gains after advancing 5.4 percent so far in January.

Energy producers and health-care companies have led the U.S. rally, adding at least 7.2 percent. The S&P 500 is trading at 14.9 times reported earnings, below the average since 1954 of 16.5, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Al Rajhi Bank increased 0.7 percent to 69.5 riyals today. Sabic, the world’s largest petrochemical maker, rose 0.8 percent to 93.25 riyals, and STC climbed 2.2 percent to 41.8 riyals.

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

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