Mideast Stocks-Dubai leads gains as markets cheer vaccine news

Saudi gains for 2nd straight session

Screens displaying stock information are seen at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, June 17, 2013.

Screens displaying stock information are seen at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, June 17, 2013.


Major Gulf markets ended higher on Monday, as further encouraging news on the COVID-19 vaccine boosted investor sentiment, spurring optimism over a faster-than-expected global economic recovery.

AstraZeneca said its COVID-19 vaccine could be around 90% effective, giving the world another weapon to fight the global pandemic and potentially cheaper to make, easier to distribute and faster to scale-up than rivals.

The vaccine developed by AstraZeneca is the third major trial to report success after U.S.-based Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc with Germany's BioNTech SE, propelling financial markets worldwide.

Oil prices, a vital catalyst for financial markets in the Gulf region, rose more than 1%, extending last week's gains as traders eyed a recovery in demand due to successful vaccine trials.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index advanced for a second straight session, concluding 0.3% higher.

Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services Group Co was the top gainer on the index, gaining 2.3%, while oil behemoth and index heavyweight Saudi Aramco put on 0.6%.

Dubai's main share index advanced sharply to close 1.3% higher, with the emirate's largest lender Emirates NBD adding 2.4%, while Dubai Ismalic Bank tacked on nearly a percent.

Dubai said the economic growth rate could increase by up to 1% because of plans by the United Arab Emirates to extend to more categories a "golden" visa system which grants 10-year residency in the Gulf state. 

The Abu Dhabi index finished 0.8% higher, with telecom firm Etisalat gaining 2.4%, while real estate firm Aldar Properties put on 1.7%.

Elsewhere, the Qatar index added 1.2%, buoyed by finance stocks Qatar Islamic Bank and Commercial Bank, which gained 3.3% and 4.8%, respectively.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index closed 0.3% higher, with property firm Talat Mostafa Group Holding jumping 4.9%, while Sixth of October Development and Investment Co gained over 5%.

SAUDI ARABIA added 0.3% to 8,611 ABU DHABI gained 0.8% to 4,974 DUBAI rose 1.3% to 2,354 QATAR put on 1.2% to 10,330 EGYPT gained 0.3% to 10,885 BAHRAIN rose 0.1% to 1,461 OMAN added 0.4% to 3,627 KUWAIT gained 0.6% to 6,172

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru, Editing by Nick Zieminski) ((abyjose.koilparambil@thomsonreuters.com; +91 (0)8061822683;))

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