Saudi Shares Hit Three-week High

Filed on February 9, 2009

DUBAI - Saudi Arabian shares rose to a three-week high after a rally in US stocks boosted investor confidence in the kingdom.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s biggest chemicals maker by market value, climbed for a third day, while Al Rajhi Bank rose to its highest in more than three weeks.

Arab National Bank increased after announcing a dividend.

“Gains in the US are helping inventors regain some confidence,” Ahmed Alghamdi, a sales trader at National Commercial Bank, said in a telephone interview from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

“The liquidity crisis is international, not domestic, and most company profit declines are already priced in.”

The Tadawul All Share Index climbed 2.8 per cent to 4,928.65, gaining for a third day. The index rose to its highest level since January 14. The measure has risen 2.6 per cent this year.

Saudi Basic, known as Sabic, rose 4.5 per cent to 48.6 riyals.

The shares gained the most since January 14. Al-Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia’s biggest publicly traded lender by market value, added 4 per cent to 58 riyals.

Shares Jump

Arab National Bank increased 1.3 per cent to 31.2 riyals.Saudi Arabia’s sixth-largest publicly traded lender by assets recommended a cash dividend of 1 riyal a share for 2008.

Rabigh Refining and Petrochemicals, the chemicals and refining complex being built by state-owned Saudi Aramco, surged 9.8 per cent to 19.65 riyals.

The shares jumped to their highest since November 12.

Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co. advanced 5.8 per cent to 10.95 riyals, its highest close since January 12.

The company building the world’s biggest ethylene-glycol plant denied a report that the Industrial Development Fund may withdraw its $530 million investment in the company.

The Tadawul is the only Arab exchange monitored by Bloomberg that is open on Saturdays.

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