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Business & Economy

Saudi shares gain strength

JEDDAH: Saudi shares closed slightly up yesterday, recouping losses sustained during early trading to gain 0.20 percent by the end of the session, led by banking stocks.
The banking index gained 0.17 percent, led by a 0.38 percent rise for Al-Rajhi Bank. However, the petrochemical index lost 0.35 percent.
Saudi share prices are often influenced by activity on Wall Street and in global oil markets, both of which suffered minor losses on Friday, Reuters reported.
Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Ali Al-Naimi said earlier that he was happy with the state of the world oil market, saying supply and demand were well matched.
“My wish is for everyone to leave the market alone because the market is functioning well,” the minister told reporters in Cairo on Friday.
“Supply is adequate, demand matches supply ... If there is any extra supply it will help inventory. This is the best time for the market,” Reuters quoted him as saying.
The collapse of a Republican plan to avoid the US “fiscal cliff” on Friday caused shares to dip on Wall Street and oil prices to fall by more than 1 percent.
Brent February crude fell $ 1.23 a barrel and US February crude dropped $ 1.47 a barrel.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.91 percent and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 0.94 percent.

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