Most Gulf stock markets ended higher on Monday, helped by strong earnings momentum, although the region remains exposed to pressure from falling energy prices and deteriorating global economic conditions.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index gained 1.2%, buoyed by a 0.8% rise in Retal Urban Development Co and a 1.7% gain in Mouwasat Medical Services. Oil behemoth Saudi Aramco on Monday signed an equity purchase agreement to acquire Valvoline Inc's unit that makes lubricants, coolants among other things for $2.65 billion. Aramco shares closed flat. The kingdom's gross domestic product rose by 11.8% in the second quarter compared with the same period in 2021, according to initial government estimates on Sunday, as the world's top oil exporter benefited from higher energy prices.
The Saudi stock market climbed thanks to the positive mood among investors as local economic growth continues to see strong performances, said Wael Makarem, senior market strategist at Exness. "The market is also seeing solid earnings and could continue to rise if oil prices remain at elevated levels."
Dubai's main share index added 1.2%, led by a 2.2% jump in top lender Emirates NBD.
In Abu Dhabi, shares advanced 1.2%, boosted by a 1.8% rise in e&, formerly known as Emirates Telecommunications, as the telecoms firm is scheduled to report its first-half earnings.
The Qatari index closed 0.7% higher, with Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's biggest lender, rising 1.4%.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index dropped 0.5%, hit by a 1% fall in Commercial International Bank Egypt. The Egyptian benchmark hit its lowest in nearly six years last month as the country has come under pressure because of a sharp slide in foreign portfolio investor holdings and rising costs of key commodity imports, especially since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)