SAUDI ARABIA. Saudi Arabian shares gained for a second day after Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) and food producer Savola Group (SAVOLA) reported an increase in profit and as Ramadan, the month when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, began.
Saudi Telecom Co., the kingdom’s largest phone company, advanced 3.3% after profit beat analysts’ estimates. Savola headed for the biggest jump since April 17 after profit surged 48%. Saudi Basic (SABIC) Industries Corp., the world’s biggest petrochemical maker, advanced to the highest intraday level since July 10.
The Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) gained 0.3% to 6,645.6 at 1:25 p.m. in Riyadh, bringing the gain for the year to 3.6%.
“Volumes are expected to be light as Ramadan gets under way,” Asim Bukhtiar, head of research at Riyad Capital, told Bloomberg in response to e-mailed questions.
“With the earnings season winding up, investors will take time to absorb the results and take positions accordingly. Saturday trading does tend to respond to Friday closing on the international markets.”
U.S. stocks rose for the week, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its first back-to-back gain since June, as results from International Business Machines Corp. to Baker Hughes Inc. beat estimates and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he’s prepared to add stimulus.
About 99 million shares have traded on the Tadawul today, compared with a 12-month daily average of 335 million.
Saudi Telecom advanced to 37.3 riyals after net income rose 7% to 2.4 billion riyals (US$640 million). The mean estimate of eight analysts was for a profit of 2.24 billion riyals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Savola gained 3% to 34.50 riyals after the company reported second-quarter net income of 341.3 million riyals as sales increased and it added market share in the retail industry. Saudi Basic gained 1.7% to 88.25 riyals.
Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is the only Gulf bourse operating on Saturdays.