|19 August, 2019

Mideast Stocks: Banks lift Saudi as most major Gulf markets rise

Saudi Arabia’s index advanced 1% with most of its banking stocks trading positively

Saudi Arabia's stock market rose in early trading on Monday helped by banking shares and increasing oil prices, while most major Gulf stocks advanced mirroring gains in global equities.

Asian stocks, riding a Wall Street rally, were cheered by China’s central bank decision to alter the way it sets a key interest rate benchmark, a move seen by analysts as reducing borrowing costs for companies. 

Crude oil prices rose following a weekend attack on a Saudi oil facility by Yemeni separatists and as traders looked for any signs that Sino-U.S. trade tensions could ease.

Saudi Arabia’s index advanced 1% with most of its banking stocks trading positively. National Commercial Bank rose 2.1% and Al Rajhi Bank was up 0.9%.

Elsewhere, Zain Saudi gained 1.3% after the telecom operator said it had commenced negotiation with Ministry of Finance to convert outstanding debts into shares.

Dubai's index traded 0.3% higher with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and Dubai Islamic Bank both gaining 0.6%.

Shuaa Capital, which merged with Abu Dhabi Financial Group earlier this month, rose 0.8%. The investment firm announced the transfer of new issued shares as part of the merger deal.

Qatar's index rose 0.2% extending gains in the previous session when it ended a three-day losing streak. Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's largest lender, boosted the index most, trading 1.5% higher.

Abu Dhabi's index slipped 0.1% as First Abu Dhabi Bank declined 0.3% and Emirates Telecommunications Group lost 0.4%.

(Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru. Editor Mike Harrison) ((Maqsood.Alam@thomsonreuters.com;))

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