(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi shares extended gains last week, buoyed by the positive performance of blue chips, particularly the banking and petrochemical sectors.
The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) gained 1.46 percent last week, closing at 6,243.93 points.
TASI is currently 30 percent higher than the year's start, according to the weekly report of the Riyadh-based Bakheet Investment Group (BIG).
In the banking sector, shares in SABB (the Saudi British Bank), Banque Saudi Fransi, the Saudi Investment Bank and Alinma Bank were in negative territory last week, while shares in Saudi Hollandi Bank surged by 1.97 percent, Samba Financial Group by 1.44 percent, Riyad Bank by 1.12 percent, Al-Rajhi Bank by 1.03 percent, Bank Albilad by 1.69 percent and Bank AlJazira by 2.33 percent.
The market received support from the announcement by the Saudi Basic Industries Corp.(SABIC) that the petrochemical conglomerate would be distributing cash dividend of SR1.5 for 2009.
The SABIC share also benefited from the declaration by the CEO Mohammad Al-Mady that the case with China was closed and that India was expected to withdraw its case against the firm. SABIC shares closed 2.16 percent higher at SR82.75 last week.
Yanbu National Petrochemical Company (YANSAB) was the top gainer last week as its shares jumped 14.48 percent to SR34.
The other major gainer in the petrochemical Industries sector was National Industrialization Co. Its shares increased by 8.37 percent to SR28.50. The only losers in the sector last week were National Petrochemical Company and Nama Chemicals Co.
In the Insurance sector, shares in Tawuniya jumped 11.15 percent to SR72.25. However, shares in Al-Ahlia Insurance Company, Al-Sagr Cooperative Insurance Co. and United Cooperative Assurance Co. dropped by 6.83 percent, 5.62 percent and 2.24 percent respectively.
Saudi stocks also drew backing from the 2010 Saudi budget, which envisaged the spending of SR540 billion, representing 16 per cent increase over last year's projections.
"After the release of the Saudi budget, investors' eye will focus on the annual financial results of the listed companies, especially the blue chip stocks of the banking and petrochemical sectors which will determine the direction of the market," the BIG said.
The Saudi stock market turnover was over SR12.57 billion last week.
Most Arab stock markets closed lower last week amid continuing concerns over the outcome of the Dubai World debt rescheduling talks, financial analysts said Friday.
They expected regional markets to be relatively stable this week as the year 2009 draws to an end, and predicted investors to keep a close eye on the 2009 annual results of listed firms and movement of oil prices.
"We believe the outcome of Dubai World rescheduling negotiations with creditors will continue to put pressure on Arab bourses in the coming weeks," an Amman-based portfolio manager said.
"Investors will also focus on the yearly corporate results and the movement of oil prices, without excluding window-dressing operations at the end of the year," he said.
Jordanian shares plummeted last week under selling pressures prompted by lack of liquidity and receding confidence, analysts said.
The all-share price index of the Amman Stock Exchange plunged 2.45 percent, closing at 2,535 points, according to the ASE weekly report.
Kuwait's KSE all-share index shed 0.7 percent closing week at 7,056 points.
The benchmarks of the United Arab Emirates stock exchanges of Dubai and Abu Dhabi plummeted 6.4 percent and 2.7 percent last week, to close respectively at 1,759 points and 2,699 points.
The decline was attributed by Haitham Orabi, CEO of Dubai-based Gulf Mina Company for Alternative Investments, to the "ambiguity which still surrounds the Dubai World debt rescheduling talks".
Egypt's AGX30 index, measuring the performance of the market's 30 most active stocks, declined 1.5 percent last week, closing at 6,380 points from 6,478 points last week.
The GulfBase GCC Index fell 0.82 percent to 3,759.70 points last week. The value of GCC traded shares declined by 19.08 percent to 5.23 billion and volume plunged 46.04 percent to 3.72 billion of shares.
By Khalil Hanware & Abdul Jalil Mustafa