Saudi slips, medium term outlook upbeat

Saudi's multi-billion dollar social spending plan to feed into Q2 earnings, analyst says
Saudi slips, medium term outlook upbeat
Qatari investor stock exchange
By Reuters
Sun 03 Apr 2011 01:03 PM

Saudi Arabia's index declined slightly, easing from Saturday's seven-week peak, but further gains are forecast with high oil prices and upbeat earnings expectations boosting sentiment.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) climbed 0.9 percent, equaling Saturday's nine week intraday high, but Saudi Arabian Fertilizers Co (Safco) slipped 0.3 percent.

The petrochemicals index added 0.3 percent, with oil's 30-month high on Friday boosting sentiment for the sector.

The benchmark slipped 0.07 percent to 6,618 points.

"The rally could continue for the coming week, given that oil prices are robust and people are expecting healthy quarterly results," said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi in Riyadh.

Heavyweight lender Al Rajhi Bank climbed 0.3 percent, but Riyad Bank slipped 0.4 percent.

Saudi Arabia's multibillion dollar social spending plan, announced in March, will feed into second-quarter earnings in the retail, property and banking sectors, said Sfakianakis.

"Banks will be seeing the positives coming from the measure in terms of increased spending and consumption," he added.

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