Saudi Arabian Stocks Rise Most in World on Succession Optimism

Saudi Arabian shares jumped the most in the world as the nation’s new king signaled policy continuity in the Arab World’s biggest economy and the market regulator said plans to open the exchange to foreigners are on track.

The Tadawul All Share Index climbed 2.6 percent in Riyadh to close at 8,912.50, the highest level since Dec. 7, and the most among more than 90 indexes tracked globally by Bloomberg. Yesterday’s 2.4 percent gain was the most after Venezuela. Saudi Basic Industries Corp., or Sabic, a petrochemicals producer that has the second-biggest weighting in the index, contributed most to today’s gain.

The Tadawul has risen 5.8 percent in the three days it has traded since the new monarch ascended to the throne following King Abdullah’s passing on Jan. 23. The Capital Markets Authority is assessing investor feedback before it approves the regulations and sets an official date in the first half for reducing restrictions on direct participation of foreign investors, CMA Governor Mohammed Al-Sheikh said in Riyadh on Tuesday.

“This is an extended reaction to the Saudi market being on track to open its doors to foreigners,” Amer Khan, the head of asset management at Shuaa Capital PSC, said by e-mail today. “The positive sentiment has also been supported by the smooth succession in the kingdom.”

The world’s biggest oil exporter is removing barriers to one of the most-restricted major stock exchanges as it pursues a $130 billion spending plan to boost non-energy industries. Investors from outside the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council aren’t allowed to invest directly in stocks and have to get access to the market through equity swaps and exchange-traded funds.

Sabic added 5.4 percent to 88.53 riyals, the highest level since Dec. 29. Today, 136 stocks on the index rose, 26 fell and seven were unchanged.

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