Mideast Stocks: Egypt outperforms as most markets in the region gain

Saudi Arabia's stock market ended higher on Sunday

Traders work at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo, November 19, 2014.

Traders work at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo, November 19, 2014.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Saudi Arabia's stock market ended higher on Sunday, mirroring Friday's jump in crude prices, while Egyptian shares outperformed the region as its COVID-19 vaccination programme was expanded.

Oil prices gained about 3% in the previous session, hitting their highest in more than a year after a stronger than expected U.S. jobs report and a decision by oil producer group OPEC and its allies not to increase supply in April.

Investors were surprised that Saudi Arabia had decided to maintain its voluntary cut of 1 million bpd through April.

The kingdom's benchmark index advanced 1.2%, as the majority of stocks on the index were in positive territory, including oil behemoth Saudi Aramco which was up 1.7%.

Aramco would be well placed to implement higher dividend guidance beyond its $75 billion minimum thanks to higher oil output scenarios, Bank of America said in a research report. 

Egypt's blue-chip index climbed 2%, snapping five sessions of losses, with the country's largest lender Commercial International Bank gaining 2.7%.

Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country of more than 100 million, on Thursday expanded its coronavirus vaccination rollout to include the elderly and people with chronic diseases after several weeks of vaccinating medical staff, the cabinet said. 

Dubai's main share index declined 0.9%, hit by a 2.7% slide in Emirates NBD, extending losses from the previous session when the stock traded ex-dividend.

Elsewhere, the Abu Dhabi index concluded flat as the shares traded mixed.

Qatari was closed for an official holiday.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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