The petrochemical sector helped carry Saudi Arabia’s stock market to a fresh one-year closing high on Tuesday after crude oil prices hit a 17-month peak.
The main Saudi index added 0.7 percent to 7,155 points in extremely heavy turnover with gainers outnumbering losers 139 to 18. The index is now up 3.5 percent year-to-date.
The petrochemical sector stayed strong; it has been contributing to the market’s positive performance since Nov. 30, when crude prices rallied on the first OPEC deal to curb output in eight years.
Advanced Petrochemical added 1.1 percent after the company said it had purchased just under 6 percent of shares in National Industrialisation Co (Tasnee) ; Tasnee gained 1.5 percent.
As a commodities producer Tasnee supplies a greater range of products than Advanced Petrochemical, and is involved in metals manufacturing.
Al Yamamah Steel surged its 10 percent limit after the company recommended a cash distribution of 1.25 riyals per share for the second half of 2016.
Alrajhi Capital said in a note that near the year’s end, high-dividend companies might attract a greater share of investors’ attention as they looked for safe bets.
Dubai’s main index added 1.3 percent in modest trade. Dubai is the Gulf’s top performer so far this year, up 9.6 percent year-to-date.
On Tuesday, activity focused on small and mid-sized shares with Union Properties jumping 5.1 percent and Dubai Financial Market, the only listed exchange in the Gulf, adding 2.5 percent.
“Most of the Gulf markets are poised to end the year with some gains, so institutional funds will tend to hold onto their current positions so that they don’t have to realise any losses on their books, bolstering their year-end returns,” said Muhammad Shabbir, a Dubai-based independent investment advisor.
Abu Dhabi’s index swung 1.3 percent higher in its second consecutive session of volatile trade. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank added 3.6 percent to 6.42 dirhams, which was 0.3 dirham above its intra-day low.
Shabbir said Abu Dhabi’s relatively thin liquidity, especially over the last 10 days, had left the market vulnerable to skittish trade.
In Doha, the main stock index rose 0.5 percent as a little under two-thirds of traded shares advanced. Bellwether Qatar National Bank added 0.8 percent.