DUBAI Dec 25 Saudi Arabia's stock market surged
in early trade on Sunday in response to the release of the 2017
state budget, which includes an increase in government spending
next year to support flagging economic growth.
The Saudi stock index added 1.1 percent to 7,167
points in the first 15 minutes, nearing technical resistance on
this year's peak of 7,235 points, hit earlier this month.
Utility Saudi Electricity jumped 6.6 percent after
the government said in the budget it would raise domestic fuel
and electricity prices by unspecified margins later this year.
The petrochemical sector was generally strong after the
government said it would not raise gas feedstock prices before
2019. A feedstock price hike in the 2016 budget squeezed some
petrochemical producers' margins.
Construction firm Abdullah Abdul Mohsin al-Khodari and Sons
gained 1.9 percent after the government pledged to
raise infrastructure spending, said it had settled unpaid bills
to the private sector and promised to settle future bills within
60 days of receiving them. The construction sector was plagued
by delays in recovering money from the government this year.
Zain Saudi rose 1.2 percent after saying it was in
talks to sell its mobile transmitter towers to a consortium of
TASC SAL and ACWA Holding IPO-ACWA.SE.
Rival Mobily underperformed the market slightly,
edging up 0.4 percent, after the United Arab Emirates' Etisalat
, which owns 27.4 percent of Mobily, said its
management agreement with Mobily had expired.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, markets moved little and trade was
thin because of the absence of foreign investors during the
Dubai's index was almost flat and Abu Dhabi
edged up 0.2 percent as Etisalat rose 1.1 percent. Qatar's index
inched up 0.1 percent.
(Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Paul Tait)