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Sat 31 Jul 2010 09:39 PM

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Saudi shares close higher, paced by Rajhi

'Small uptick is nothing to call home about,' Banque Saudi Fransi chief economist said.

Saudi shares close higher, paced by Rajhi
SHARES RISE: Saudi Arabian shares rose, with the Tadawul All Share Index recording the third biggest monthly gain in a year. (Getty Images)

Saudi Arabian shares rose, with the Tadawul All Share Index recording the third biggest monthly gain in a year, following flat trading in US and European shares.

The 143 company gauge rose 0.3 percent to 6283.73, the highest since June 28, at the 3:30 pm close in Riyadh, after falling as much as 0.2 percent.

Al Rajhi Bank, the biggest publicly traded lender in Saudi Arabia, was the leading mover, while Samba Financial services, the kingdom’s second biggest lender by market value, drove lagging movers.

Tadawul gained 3.1 percent in July, the highest monthly gain since March.

John Sfakianakis, chief economist, Banque Saudi Fransi, Riyadh, said: “Today’s small uptick is nothing to call home about."

He added: “Oil has been hovering in the high $70s and global equities have been rather flat as the summer lull is taking hold in Europe and the US.”

European, US and developing nation markets declined this week. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.2 percent, as the S&P 500 fell 0.1 percent.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which tracks developing nation equity markets, declined 0.2 percent yesterday, paring its monthly gain to 8 percent.

Crude for September delivery settled at $78.95 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday. Futures gained 4.4 percent in July and 18 percent in the past year. Saudi Arabia holds one fifth of the world’s proven oil reserves.

Al Rajhi rose 0.6 percent to $21.20, the highest since June 14. Samba declined the most since July 25, losing 1.2 percent to $16. Riyad Bank, Saudi Arabia’s third largest lender by market value, slid 1.4 percent to $7.62.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp, the world’s largest petrochemical maker, was unchanged at $23.

Saudi Electricity Co rose 0.7 percent to $3.77, the highest since April 2008, after the state controlled power producer awarded a $59.4 million contract to Mohammed al Ojaimi Contracting to link a transformer station in northern Riyadh with the electric grid.

Saudi Investment Bank rose to the highest since October 2009, gaining 2.2 percent to $5.50, as the kingdom’s third smallest publicly traded bank reduced provisions on bad loans by 4.2 percent in the second quarter.

Saudi Arabia’s index is the only Gulf Arab index tracked by Bloomberg that trades on Saturday.

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