Saudi Arabian shares climbed, led by petrochemical companies and banks, on reports that US consumer confidence gained and as China pledged to bolster growth.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp., known as Sabic, the world's largest petrochemical maker, rose 0.5 per cent. Al Rajhi Bank, the kingdom's largest bank by market value, and Samba Financial Group gained the most in four days.
The Tadawul All Share Index advanced 0.2 per cent in Riyadh at 11.32am. The 152-member index has rallied 10 per cent this year.
"There hasn't been domestic data that would provide a clear sense of market direction," Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist at Jeddah-based National Commercial Bank, said. "When there is a positive consumer confidence report in an important economy like the US, that is taken as a good sign for oil prices and for the petrochemical sector."
Oil rose on reports showing that US consumer confidence gained and the United Nations' atomic agency found evidence Iran boosted its output of enriched uranium that could be used for a nuclear weapon. Crude oil for July delivery advanced 20 cents to settle at $90.86 (Dh333.74) a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment advanced to 79.3, the most since 2007. The confidence measure was projected to hold at the preliminary reading of 77.8, according to the median forecast of 60 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last week said the nation should put "stabilising growth in a more important position." In comments posted on the government's website, he called for an increase in lending to support construction, spurring expectations that the government will step up stimulus measures.
Sabic advanced to 95.5 riyals (Dh95.54). Al Rajhi rose 0.7 per cent to 73.5 riyals and Samba increased 1.1 per cent to 48.2 riyals.