May 4 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index gained to the highest in three weeks after U.S. stocks climbed as U.S. employment picked up more than forecast. Petrochemical companies and banks led the advance.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s largest petrochemical maker that’s known as Sabic, rose the most in more than five weeks. Al Rajhi Bank, the biggest Saudi lender by market value, increased to the highest level since April 14, while Yanbu Cement Co. rallied to an almost seven-year high.
The Tadawul All Share Index gained 0.5 percent to 7,214.06 by the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh, the highest level since April 13, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Saudi Arabia’s bourse is the only one in the Persian Gulf that trades on Saturdays.
“We are seeing the Saudi market taking cue from good rallies in the global markets,” Murad Ansari, an analyst at EFG-Hermes Saudi Arabia, said in an e-mail. “The domestic investor sentiment is positive seeing the U.S. jobs reports and the decline in U.S. unemployment rate, easing fears about U.S. economy. I expect this strength in the market to sustain today.”
American employers took on more workers than forecast in April and the jobless rate unexpectedly fell to a four-year low of 7.5 percent, reflecting confidence in the outlook for the world’s biggest economy as payrolls expanded by 165,000 following a revised 138,000 increase in March that was larger than first estimated, Labor Department figures showed yesterday in Washington.
Sabic climbed 1.7 percent to 91.75 riyals. Al Rajhi Bank rose 0.8 percent to 66.25 riyals, while Yanbu Cement increased 3.4 percent to 69.5 riyals.
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