Saudi Stocks Advance

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Saudi shares settled in the positive territory at close Saturday, led by banks and cement companies, as the outlook for higher crude prices made up for International Energy Agency?s move to release 60 million barrels of oil in the next month after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries failed to agree on production increase.

Also, U.S. stocks posted the biggest weekly rally in two years after Greece took action to avoid a default, and this could have led to the rise.

The stock benchmark Tadawul All Share Index climbed 0.11 at 6,456.88 points after declining 2.5 percent this year, led by banks and cement companies.

Saudi Cement Co. rose for a fourth day, while Al Rajhi Bank and Banque Saudi France also advanced.

Saudi Arabian Mining Co., also known as Ma?aden, rose for the fifth day after announcing financing for an aluminum project the company is developing in a joint venture with Alcoa Inc.

?What we are looking at now is likely only a relatively short-term respite in the oil market,? said Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist at Jeddah-based National Commercial Bank. ?Only Saudi Arabia has any substantial spare capacity, but this is being eroded now by its internal demand and their decision to boost production.”

Oil prices extended their decline after Thursday?s sharp sell-off, though losses were more moderate as the impact of a surprise announcement on the release of emergen ICE Brent August crude, the main gauge for world oil demand, settled down $2.14 to $105.12 a barrel.

US crude for August delivery settled up 14 cents at $91.16.

Al Rajhi Bank gained 0.4 percent to SR72 and Banque Saudi France rose 0.9 percent to SR43.2, climbing for a fourth day.

Saudi Cement jumped 2.4 percent, the most since May 22, to SR63.5.

In New York, commodity prices were mostly lower Friday as investors searched for clues about whether the release of emergency oil reserves will help economic growth.

Most metals, corn, wheat and soybeans settled lower Friday. Oil rose but other energy products were mixed.

Many investors are awaiting a clearer picture of how the economy will perform in the months ahead.

Sources: Bloomberg, SaudiGazette

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