Most major Gulf markets ended higher for a third consecutive session on Tuesday as further positive news on COVID-19 vaccine development lifted optimism about a sooner-than-expected global economic recovery.
Investor sentiment got a major fillip for a second time in as many weeks when Moderna Inc on Monday became the second U.S. drugmaker after Pfizer to announce promising trial data in the development of a vaccine against the pandemic.
Markets in the Gulf region were also helped by a rise in oil prices that benefited from expectations OPEC and its allies will extend production cuts for at least three months as well the encouraging news on the vaccine front. O/R
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index closed 0.5% higher, with lender Al-Rajhi Bank and Samba Financial Group putting on 1% and about 2%, respectively.
Dubai's main share index finished 0.8% higher, posting a third straight session of gains.
Real estate firms led the gains on the day, with Emaar Properties gaining 2.4%, while Damac Properties put on 5.7%.
Financial stocks boosted the Abu Dhabi index , which firmed 0.2%. Index heavyweights First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank finished up 0.3% each.
Aldar Properties was the top gainer on the Abu Dhabi index, advancing about 3%. The benchmark now has gained for seven straight sessions.
The United Arab Emirates central bank said on Monday it had extended to June 2021 the applicability period of key components of a stimulus scheme to support retail and corporate banking customers and accelerate recovery from the pandemic.
Elsewhere, bucking the trend, the Qatar index finished 0.2% down, dragged mainly by Qatar National Bank, which ended about 2% lower.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's index finished 0.7% higher, led by gains in property firm Sixth of October Development and Investment Co , which jumped 8.8%.
(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru Editing by Nick Zieminski) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +91 (0)8061822683;))