|17 December, 2019

Mideast Stocks: Major Gulf markets rise

Saudi Aramco snaps four-day winning streak

Traders monitor stock prices on screens at the Saudi Investment Bank in Riyadh. Image used for illustrative purpose

Traders monitor stock prices on screens at the Saudi Investment Bank in Riyadh. Image used for illustrative purpose

REUTERS/Faisal AlNasser

Saudi Arabia's stock market closed on a positive note on Tuesday, supported by gains in financial shares, while Qatar was up a day after the country announced its biggest budget in five years.

The Saudi benchmark index was up 0.7%. But Al Rajhi Bank lost 0.9% and National Commercial Bank fell 1.4%.

On Monday, NCB and Riyad Bank decided to end preliminary merger talks, the two said in separate stock exchange filings. Riyad Bank slid 3.2%.

National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) jumped 4.4%, to its highest since July 2017, after it signed a contract with a saline water conversion company to supply desalinated water from floating stations.

By contrast, Saudi Aramco slipped 0.7% to close at 37.8 riyals, ending four straight days of gains, before it joins the MSCI emerging markets index on Wednesday.

Aramco listed 1.5% of its shares at 32 riyals ($8.53) on the kingdom's Tadawul exchange on Dec. 11 in the world's largest initial public offering (IPO).

The Qatari index ended 1.2% up, led by a 3.9% hike in Qatar National Bank and a 4.9% surge in Mesaieed Petrochemical.

On Monday, Qatar said it plans to spend 1.9% more in 2020 than this year, its biggest budget in five fiscal years. The 210.5 billion Qatari riyal ($57.83 billion) budget will go to complete infrastructure projects, including facilities for soccer's 2022 World Cup. 

Also, Qatar's 2020 budget statement did not mention introducing a value-added text.

Outside of the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index gained 1.7%, with 27 of its 30 stocks rising. The country's largest bank, Commercial International Bank added 2.5% and EFG Hermes leapt 4.6%.

In Dubai, the index gained 0.8%, extending gains for a sixth straight session. Dubai Islamic bank added 1.1% and blue-chip developer Emaar Properties was up 1.3%.

The Abu Dhabi index  was up 0.4% as Etisalat  gained 0.9% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank advanced 2.2%.

($1 = 3.7500 riyals)

($1 = 3.6400 Qatar riyals)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

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