Major Gulf stocks were mixed in early trade on Wednesday, with the Saudi market extending gains following news of an acquisition and a buyback while the Dubai index rose after banks NBD and DIB reported sharply higher profits.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index edged up 0.2%, extending gains from the previous session, led by a 4.2% surge in Advanced Petrochemical after it announced it was buying back 1.5 million shares.
Saudi Automotive Services was the index's top gainer, surging over 10% after acquiring a 80% stake in gas station operating company NAFT Services Limited Company.
Dubai's main share index rose 0.5%, driven by a 0.7% gain in its largest bank, Emirates NBD, after it reported a 34% rise in profits in 2021. Sharia-compliant Dubai Islamic Bank was up 0.4% after its profits rose 39.6%.
Banks in the United Arab Emirates are benefiting from an uptick in economic activity as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic ease amid government support, higher oil prices and a a surge in tourism due to the world fair Expo taking place in Dubai.
Emaar Development rose 1.2%.
The Abu Dhabi index eased 0.3% as market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank lost 0.5% and Aldar Properties was down 0.2%.
The Qatari index was flat as Qatar International Islamic Bank lost 0.9% while Qatar Gas Transport Nakilat rose 0.8%.
($1 = 3.7509 riyals)
(Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; editing by John Stonestreet) ((email@example.com; +918067497252;))