Saudi rises to 18-month high, Safco leads

TASI gains 1.4 percent to 6,869 points, its highest close since Sept 28, 2008.
Saudi rises to 18-month high, Safco leads
SAUDI STOCKS: Safco is the first Saudi bluechip to announce its first quarter earnings. (Getty Images)
By Souhail Karam
Sat 10 Apr 2010 01:54 PM

Saudi shares climbed to a closing high of more than 18 months, led by Saudi Arabian Fertilizers Co (Safco) which posted better-than-expected first-quarter results.

The all-share index TASI gained 1.4 percent to 6,869 points, its highest close since Sept 28, 2008.

Shares in Safco rose 6.4 percent after higher prices helped it make the highest quarterly net profit since the start of the global slowdown.

Market heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), which holds a near 43-percent stake in Safco, gained 3.3 percent.

"Safco's quarterly result is a clear indication that the rising oil prices are stimulating earnings growth for (the) petrochemical sector in Saudi Arabia," says Mohammed Ishaq Ali, who manages a Saudi equity fund at al-Rajhi Capital.

Safco is the first Saudi bluechip to announce its first-quarter earnings.

Shares in Almarai Co fell 0.5 percent after the Gulf's largest dairy firm by market value posts in the first quarter its lowest quarterly net profit in a year. (Reuters)

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