RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index rose to the highest in almost three weeks, led by banks and petrochemicals, after US stocks rallied for a fifth week on an improving labour market and better-than-estimated earnings.
Yanbu National Petrochemicals Co. climbed to the highest nine months, while Alinma Bank gained the most in two weeks. Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Co. increased to an almost four-week high.
The Tadawul All Share Index gained 0.2 percent to 7,057.59 by the 3:30 pm close in Riyadh, the highest since Jan. 14, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is the only Persian Gulf bourse that trades on Saturdays.
“The Saudi stock exchange benefited a lot from global markets reacting to the developments in the US economy,” Fadhel Albuainain, a Jubail-based banking economist, said by phone.
The US rally sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 14,000 for the first time in five years, as data on the labour market and manufacturing boosted confidence in the world’s biggest economy. Of the 254 S&P 500 companies that have posted results, 73 percent exceeded analysts’ profit estimates and 65 per cent topped sales projections, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Yanbu National Petrochemicals rose 1.4 per cent to 52.75 riyals while Alinma Bank increased 1.1 per cent to 13.65 riyals.
Dar Al Arkan Real Estate gained 1.1 per cent to 8.95 riyals.
Hiring increased in January after accelerating more than previously estimated at the end of 2012, evidence the US labour market was making progress even as lawmakers quarreled over the federal budget.
Payrolls rose 157,000 following a revised 196,000 advance in the prior month and a 247,000 surge in November, Labour Department figures showed on Friday in Washington. The revisions added a total of 127,000 jobs to the employment count in November and December. The jobless rate increased to 7.9 per cent from 7.8 per cent.
Sustained hiring gains will give incomes a lift, buffering American workers from the sting of higher payroll taxes and helping them keep spending. At the same time, bigger employment advances are needed to drive down a jobless rate that Federal Reserve officials say is too high.