Saudi stocks rose 1.6 percent to reach their highest-ever levels yesterday, as a result of high oil prices and gains by industrial and telecom blue chips offsetting drops due to dividend payments. Traders said the positive trend on the Saudi Arabian bourse, the largest in the Arab world, was expected to continue after an anticipated drop next week because of more dividend distributions. The all-share index ended the week at an all-time high of 4,759.76 points, up from 4,685.34 a week ago. It is up 7.3 percent so far this year after climbing 76.5 percent in 2003. Turnover fell to SR20.1 billion ($5.36 billion) from SR24.1 billion in the previous week. Gains were made by industrial giant Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), which, with 15.2 percent of the turnover, climbed 5.3 percent to SR379; and the Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC), the second most active stock at 10.2 percent, gained 3.4 percent to SR457. The rally was however tempered by a drop in Al-Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation, after it distributed dividends of SR35 per share, ending up 4.5 percent lower at SR938. Decliners outnumbered gainers 39 to 30 during the week while two stocks were not traded.