Major Gulf markets rallied on Wednesday as investors cheered the prospects of a faster-than-expected global economic recovery, driven mainly by encouraging news on the COVID-19 vaccine development front.
Financial markets worldwide have gained in the past couple of weeks as U.S. drugmakers Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc as well as British firm AstraZeneca released positive data on the effectiveness of their vaccine candidates.
Aiding sentiment, the uncertainty over presidential transition in the United States seemed ending with President Donald Trump's administration clearing the way for President-elect Joe Biden to prepare for the start of his administration.
Oil, a key catalyst for the economies in the Gulf region, rose for the fourth straight session as the market shrugged off an industry report showing U.S. crude stockpiles rose more than expected, extending a rally driven by vaccine hopes. O/R
Saudi Arabia's benchmark closed 0.6% higher. National Commercial Bank gained more than 2% and was the top gainer on the index. Another lender Al-Rajhi Bank put on 0.5%.
The Saudi benchmark has now gained for four consecutive sessions.
Dubai's main share index finished 0.6% higher, with Dubai Islamic Bank and property firm Emaar Properties leading the gains, ending the session 0.9% higher each.
The Dubai benchmark has gained for four straight sessions now.
The Abu Dhabi index bounced back from the previous session's losses to gain about 0.9%. Lenders First Abu Dhabi Bank appreciated 0.9%, while real estate firm Aldar Properties put on more than 4%.
Elsewhere, in Qatar, the blue-chip index added 0.4%, buoyed by Industries Qatar, which gained 2.4% in the session.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's prime index logged in gains for a third consecutive session, finishing 0.7% higher.
Commercial International Bank was the top gainer in the benchmark, adding 0.9%.
SAUDI ARABIA gained 0.6% to 8,689 ABU DHABI put on 0.9% to 4,989 DUBAI rose 0.6% to 2,413 QATAR advanced 0.4% to 10,304 EGYPT was up 0.7% to 11,068 BAHRAIN gained 0.1% to 1,462 OMAN fell 0.1% to 3,624 KUWAIT lost 0.4% to 6,153
(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V) ((email@example.com; +91 (0)8061822683))