|24 March, 2020

Mideast Stocks: Most major Gulf indexes rebound in line with oil, global stocks

All Saudi Arabian banks rise

A Saudi man inspects a screen showing stock prices at ANB Bank in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia September 16, 2019.

A Saudi man inspects a screen showing stock prices at ANB Bank in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia September 16, 2019.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

Most major bourses in the Gulf rebounded on Tuesday, mirroring gains in oil and global equities, as investors pinned hopes on unprecedented stimulus steps by the U.S Federal Reserve to ease strains in financial markets amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In its latest mould-breaking step, the Fed offered to buy unlimited amounts of assets to steady markets and expanded its mandate to corporate and municipal bonds and backstop a series of other measures. 

Brent crude was up by 90 cents a barrel, or 3.2%, to $27.93 by 1225 GMT.

The Abu Dhabi index jumped 6.1%, boosted by a 9.5% surge in top lender First Abu Dhabi Bank FAB.AD and a 6.8% rise in Emirates Telecommunications.

On Sunday, the United Arab Emirates approved an additional 16 billion dirhams ($4.36 billion) for a total stimulus package of 126 billion dirhams to counter the coronavirus outbreak, the UAE vice president tweeted after a cabinet meeting. 

In Dubai, the index gave up early gains to close 0.1% down. sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank dropped 4.8%, while the United Arab Emirates' only listed airline Air Arabia lost 4.1%.

Dubai Airports and Abu Dhabi Airport said they would suspend all passenger flights as of 11:59 p.m. local time on Thursday for two weeks, with the exception of evacuation flights, as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index advanced 3.4%. State-owned Saudi Aramco and Al Rajhi Bank gained 3.2% and 2.5%, respectively.

The kingdom's central bank announced on Monday it would provide financing for micro, small and medium enterprises amounting to 13.3 billion riyals ($3.54 billion), Reuters reported citing state TV El Akhbariya.

The Qatari index edged up 0.2%, supported by a 1.9% gain in Qatar Islamic Bank and a 3% rise in Qatar Electricity and Water.

However, the gains were capped by losses at Commercial Bank, which plunged 6.7% as the stock traded ex-dividend.

Egypt's blue-chip index dropped 2.8% with 25 of thirty stocks declining. Commercial International Bank slid 4.6%, while Talaat Mostafa tumbled 6.5%.

($1 = 3.6724 UAE dirham)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Heinrich and Gareth Jones) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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