(MENAFN - Arab News) The Saudi stock index made its biggest one-day gain since November 2008 on Saturday led by the heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) after falling 8.4 percent last week on declining oil prices and concerns over the euro zone's debts.
The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) ended 5.35 percent or 313.65 points higher at 6,175.96, close to its level before Tuesday's 6.8 percent fall. Prior to Saturday's close, the biggest one-day index gain was on Nov. 29, 2008 when it rose 9.5 percent.
All sectors closed with gains ranging from 1.76 percent by the Energy & Utilities sector to 8.67 percent by the Petrochemical Industries sector. The overall market breadth for the day remained strongly positive with 137 advances against only 1 decliner, the Financial Transaction House (FTH) said.
SABIC shares surged for a second day, adding 10 percent, the biggest rise since November 2008, to SR88. Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co. rose 9.97 percent, the biggest gain since Oct. 2008, to SR18.2. Saudi International Petrochemical Co. (Sipchem) shares jumped 9.5 percent to SR21. Yanbu National Petrochemicals Company (Yansab) shares gained 9.30 percent to SR38.80.
Saudi Industrial Investment Group shares edged higher by 9.89 percent to SR20.55 on Saturday.
The only loser was Arabia Insurance Cooperative Company as its shares declined 1.36 percent to SR21.70.
Saturdays profits were mainly fueled by the increase in oil prices which reached 74.09 a barrel on Friday.
The liquidity for the day reached SR5.9 billion as compared to Wednesday which came in only at SR4.63 billion. The liquidity rose strongly on account of heavy buying supporting Saturdays gain, the FTH report said.
The Saudi listed companies earnings announcements season has ended with 131 out of 138 listed firms releasing their first quarter 2010 results.
According to National Commercial Banks (NCBs) weekly Market Review & Outlook, as of May 22, the combined net profits of the 131 companies increased by 71 percent to SR17.72 billion in the first quarter of this year from SR10.36 billion in the first quarter of 2009.
The cluster of loss making firms has narrowed down to 23 companies Y/Y while their combined losses shrank 41 percent, from SR2.82 billion in the first quarter of 2009 to SR1.66 billion in the first quarter of this year. Improved prices and cost cutting have been noticed behind the better than expected earnings outcome for the first quarter of this year, the NCB report said.
The major losers in the first quarter of this year were Saudi Electricity Co. (SEC) (SR782.2 million), Mobile Telecommunications Company Saudi Arabia (Zain KSA) (SR 662.5 million), and Alinma Bank (SR75.1 million).
Excluding the profitability of eleven listed Saudi banks, the combined net profits of 120 non banks firms rose strongly by 201 percent to SR11.92 billion in the first quarter of 2010 over SR 3.96 billion in the first quarter of 2009, the NCB report said.
The net profits of 11 listed banks declined 9.5 percent to SR5.79 billion in the first quarter of this year largely on credit related provisioning and lower interest margins. Significant improvement in prices and output of the petrochemical firms, SABIC turned out to be in black in the first quarter (SR5.43 billion over loss of SR974 million).
The companies that are largely influenced by the domestic economic activities were out performers with agriculture & food showing 84.1 percent earnings growth in first quarter of this year, followed by retail 27.3 percent up, and newly listed insurance firms showing 246.2 percent net-earnings growth Y/Y. Overall, the first quarter corporate results came out better than most investors have had expected in an unstable global financial environment, the NCB said in its report.
By Khalil Hanware