Saudi Arabian stocks climbed to their highest in almost six years as investors shift funds into the Arab world’s largest bourse after it lagged regional peers this year. Abu Dhabi’s measure rose.
The Tadawul All Share Index advanced 0.8 percent to 9,660.13 at the close in Riyadh, the strongest level since June 2008. Yamamah Saudi Cement Co. led the advance, increasing 8.4 percent in almost six times the three-month daily average volume. Trading on the Tadawul today was more than 40 percent higher than its yearly average. Abu Dhabi’s gauge climbed 0.3 percent, taking its increase for the year to 18 percent.
Investors are seeking to benefit from Saudi Arabia’s expanding economy, which grew at the fastest pace in five quarters at the end of 2013 on climbing crude prices. Shares listed on the country’s main index gained 13 percent this year, compared with a 51 percent increase for Dubai’s leading gauge. Qatar’s QE Index jumped 23 percent and the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index climbed 15 percent.
“Asset managers are relocating some of their investments from markets which have been going up fast,” Mohammed Ali Yasin, managing director of NBAD Securities in Abu Dhabi, said by phone. “We have seen the exit of some international investors from the United Arab Emirates and some of them have been relocating to Saudi, which had lagged.”
Yamamah Cement surged to 66.18 riyals, the biggest advance on a closing basis since November 2008. Saudi Basic Industries Corp. climbed 2.8 percent, it’s biggest gain since Oct. 20, to 117.24 riyals. Saudi International Petrochemical Co. gained 2.4 percent to 31.25 riyals.
In Dubai, the benchmark DFM General Index increased 0.4 percent. Dubai Islamic Bank, the largest Shariah-compliant lender in the U.A.E., helped the index to pare early losses after reporting a 636.6 million-dirham ($173 million) first-quarter profit. DIB jumped 2.5 percent to 6.95 dirhams, the strongest close since August 2008.
Union Properties PJSC surged 6.6 percent to 2.60 dirhams, the most in almost three months, after the Dubai-based developer said the agenda at its next investor meeting will include raising foreign ownership of company shares to 25 percent.
Aldar Properties PJSC, the biggest developer in Abu Dhabi, jumped 3.2 percent to 4.15 dirhams in its first gain in more than a week on bets property stocks in the emirate will catch up with peers in neighboring Dubai. Eshraq Properties Co. and RAK Properties PJSC also advanced, gaining 3.3 percent and 0.8 percent respectively.
“Abu Dhabi real estate has underperformed Dubai peers by a fairly good margin,” Nayal Khan, head of institutional sales and trading at Naeem Holding in Dubai, said by phone. “It seems like a good time to start looking at some of these names.”
Qatar’s benchmark QE Index gained 0.4 percent. Kuwait’s and Oman’s measures advanced 0.3 percent while stock markets in Egypt and Bahrain were closed for a holiday.
Israel’s TA-25 Index climbed 0.1 percent to 1,379.88 in Tel Aviv. The yield on the government’s benchmark bonds due March 2023 dropped five basis points, or 0.05 percentage point, to 3.14 percent.