Mideast Stocks: Major Gulf bourses shrug off geopolitical tensions

Qatar index leading the gains

  
A trader monitors a screen displaying stock information at Qatar Stock Exchange in Doha, Qatar November 9, 2016.

A trader monitors a screen displaying stock information at Qatar Stock Exchange in Doha, Qatar November 9, 2016.

REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon

Most major stock markets in the Gulf reversed early losses to close higher on Thursday, shrugging off regional tensions, with the Qatar index leading the gains.

Israeli jets struck what its military said were rocket launch sites in Lebanon early on Thursday in response to two rockets fired towards Israel from Lebanese territory, in an escalation of cross-border hostilities. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.4%, with Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services advancing 3.1% and Sahara International Petrochemical Co climbing 4.2%.

Tanmiah Food Company surged over 19%, a day after its stellar debut.

Economies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will likely grow at an aggregate 2.2% this year after a 4.8% contraction last year caused by the pandemic and lower oil prices, the World Bank said on Wednesday. 

It remains vital for GCC countries - which include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates - to diversify their economies, the World Bank said, as oil revenues account for over 70% of total government revenues in most of them.

The Qatari benchmark added 0.6%, led by a 0.6% increase in Qatar National Bank and a 1.2% rise in Commercial Bank.

Among others, Mesaieed Petrochemical Co finished 0.3% higher.

Post trading hours, the petrochemical maker reported a net profit of 909.4 million riyals ($249.84 million), up from 135.1 million riyals a year earlier. 

Dubai's main share index added 0.3%, with Emirates NBD Bank gaining 1.1% and blue-chip developer Emaar Properties firming 0.7%.

Dubai's state airport operator expects a surge in passenger traffic over the coming weeks and months, its chief executive said on Wednesday, after the United Arab Emirates announced an easing of travel restrictions from African and Asian countries. 

The Gulf state, a major international travel hub, on Tuesday said it would lift a ban on transit flights, including from major market India. 

In Abu Dhabi, the index edged up 0.2%, supported by a 3.2% rise in Aldar Properties.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index was flat.

($1 = 3.7501 riyals)

($1 = 3.6400 Qatar riyals)

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


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