Stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Wednesday as recession fears ebbed, extending a rebound from the recent selloff triggered by central banks globally raising interest rates to tame inflation.
In Qatar, the benchmark index logged its biggest intraday gain since May 2019 at 3.4%, with almost all index stocks in positive territory including the Gulf's biggest lender, Qatar National Bank, which was up 5.3%.
The Qatari market rose strongly, boosted by company earnings and strong domestic fundamentals, said Eman AlAyyaf, CEO of EA Trading. "Natural gas prices have also improved this month helping stop the decline of the main index," AlAyyaf added.
Among other gainers, Ooredoo surged 9.2%. The telecommunications firm is in talks to sell its Myanmar unit in what would mark the exit of the country's last foreign telecoms operator, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the matter. Ooredoo is the last majority foreign-owned telecoms company in Myanmar after Norway's Telenor exited in March.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index advanced 0.9%, led by a 0.7% rise in Retal Urban Development Co and a 1.3% gain in Saudi British Bank.
Dubai's main share index added 0.8%, with top lender Emirates NBD rising 2%. Abu Dhabi shares finished 1% higher, driven by a 1.5% rise in the country's biggest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank. The United Arab Emirates' economy grew by an estimated 8.2% in the first quarter, buoyed by higher oil production, the central bank said on Wednesday.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index closed 0.8% higher. The Egyptian bourse hit its lowest in nearly six years earlier this 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)