DUBAI, April 23 The Saudi stock index jumped in
early trade on Sunday on overnight news that King Salman had
issued a royal decree restoring financial allowances for Saudi
civil servants and military personnel.
The allowances were reduced last September as part of
austerity measures due to low oil prices. Officials said on
Saturday that the cuts had been cancelled because of
better-than-expected budgetary performance in the first quarter
Advancing shares outnumbered declining ones 152 to 6, taking
Riyadh's index 1.4 percent higher after 25 minutes of
trade, with domestically focused shares in the lead.
Electronics and stationery retailer Jarir surged
7.9 percent on hopes consumer spending will help boost the
Shares of the largest dairy producer in the Gulf Almarai
jumped 2.8 percent after reporting a first quarter net
profit of 328.3 million riyals ($87.55 million), up 13.7 percent
from a year earlier. Four analysts polled by Reuters forecast a
net profit of 337.4 million riyals.
Almarai attributed its improved results to better cost
management, lower commodity costs and lower general expenses and
said it will continue "to focus on costs control, efficiency
gains and cash-flow preservation".
Sunday was the first day the Saudi stock exchange will
settle trades within two business days of execution, a practice
called T+2, rather than the previous same day settlement.
Other markets in the region were quiet, with Kuwait's index
up 0.6 percent and Qatar's index up 0.1 percent.
All bourses in the United Arab Emirates are closed for a
($1 = 3.7498 riyals)
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; editing by Andrew Torchia and Jason