Banks help Tadawul extend winning streak

Saudi Arabian shares extended the longest winning streak since September, led by Banque Saudi Fransi and Al Rajhi Bank, as oil gained for a fourth day and profits at European banks hinting at economic recovery.

Al Rajhi Bank, the largest bank in Saudi Arabia by market value, and Banque Saudi Fransi each advanced to the highest level since October. The Tadawul All Share Index gained for a seventh day, adding one per cent to 6,474.66, the highest level since October 27.

"General risk sentiment is better," said Phon Vilayoune, senior manager of credits and emerging markets at Samba Financial Group.

Moody's Investors Service said on February 15 it raised the foreign currency deposit ratings of Samba Financial Group, Banque Saudi Fransi and Saudi British Bank to Aa3 from A1.

Moody's said the outlook on all ratings is stable. The Tadawul index has gained more than five per cent so far this quarter as fourth-quarter profits from its biggest companies, including Saudi Basic Industries and Saudi Telecom, more than doubled.

Earnings at companies from BNP Paribas to Barclays and Deutsche Boerse beat analysts' estimates, pushing European stocks to their biggest weekly gain since July. US stocks rose as lower-than-projected growth in consumer prices eased concern the Federal Reserve will need to raise its benchmark interest rate to fight inflation.

Al Rajhi added one per cent to SR77.75, the highest since October 26. Banque Saudi Fransi advanced for a fifth day, gaining 3.2 per cent to SR45.8. Among the major gainers were Al Sagr Company for Co-operative Insurance that rose by 4.90 per cent to SR53.50, Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical that appreciated 3.65 per cent to reach SR34.10 and AXA Co-operative Insurance that added 3.03 per cent to close at SR30.60.

Among major losers were United Co-operative Insurance that lost 3.64 per cent with the shares slipping to SR42.30 and Saudi Investment Bank that lost 1.08 per cent with its shares at SR18.35.

 

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