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Sat 16 Jan 2010 12:44 PM

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Banks, SABIC lead Saudi index up

Saudi shares close on Saturday with their biggest one-day gain since Dec 14.

Saudi shares close with their biggest one-day gain since Dec. 14, led by banking stocks and the heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC).

The all-share index TASI closed 1.0 percent higher at 6,326 points with the banking index leading sector indices with a 3.2 percent rise.

Riyad Bank shares ended 6.9 percent higher after announcing a 72.4-percent rise in its fourth-quarter net profit.

SABB Bank closed with the biggest gain of all stocks - up 8.8 percent - despite announcing a 96-percent drop in its fourth quarter earnings.

"Investors are optimistic ... and expect that (SABB's) profits for 2010 will be better because they think the bank got rid of all of its (loan) losses," said Hesham Abo Jamee, chief investment officer at Bakheet Investment Group.

SABIC, the largest listed firm, ended 0.6 percent higher at 88.50 riyals. The company was expected to announce its fourth-quarter earnings before Wednesday. (Reuters)

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