Mideast Stocks: Major Gulf indexes rise as financial stocks gain

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index gained 0.5%, driven by a 1% increase in Al Rajhi Bank and a 2.4% rise in Samba Financial Group

  

Major Gulf stock markets rose in early trade on Thursday, largely led by gains in financial shares, with many investors having returned from Eid Al-Adha holidays.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index gained 0.5%, driven by a 1% increase in Al Rajhi Bank and a 2.4% rise in Samba Financial Group.

Samba on Wednesday posted a 2% rise in quarterly net profit to 955 million riyals ($254.65 million), surviving a period marked by the coronavirus outbreak and weak interest rates.

Dubai's main share index rose 0.7%, led by a 1.4% gain in Emirates NBD Bank and a 3.1% jump in logistic firm Aramex.

Aramex reported a second-quarter net profit of 94.4 million dirhams, down from 123.2 million dirhams a year ago, but higher than the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, foreign direct investment in Dubai fell by 74% in the first half of the year compared with the same period of 2019, as the pandemic stalled parts of the global economy.

The Middle East financial and trade centre drew in 12 billion dirhams ($3.3 billion) in the six months to June 30, the Dubai government said in a statement.

The Abu Dhabi index was up 0.7%, with the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank rising 0.7%, while telecoms firm Etisalat added 1%.

In Qatar, which reopened after a one-week break for the Muslim festival of Eid Al-Adha, the index edged up 0.2%, helped by a 2.4% increase in petrochemical firm Industries Qatar.

($1 = 3.7503 riyals)

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

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