Mideast Stocks: Qatar leads most Gulf markets higher; Saudi bourse flat

Aramex gains on higher revenue

  
A Saudi trader observes the stock market on monitors at Falcom stock exchange agency in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 7, 2018.

A Saudi trader observes the stock market on monitors at Falcom stock exchange agency in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 7, 2018.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Most stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Thursday, with Qatar leading on broad-based gains, while the Saudi index bucked the trend to close flat.

The Qatari index advanced 1.7%, as most of the stocks were in positive territory including the Gulf's largest lender, Qatar National Bank.

Dubai's main share index rose 0.3%, driven by a 2.1% rise in its largest lender, Emirates NBD Bank, and a 1.3% increase in logistic firm Aramex, despite reporting a fall in third-quarter profit.

However, Aramex posted a revenue of 1.51 billion dirhams ($411 million) in the quarter ended Sept. 30, down from 1.27 billion dirhams year ago. 

In Abu Dhabi, the index closed up 0.6%, with top lender First Abu Dhabi Bank rising 1.2%.

The benchmark index in Saudi Arabia finished flat, a day after it climbed over 1%.

In the previous session, Saudi Arabian shares advanced over 1% after President Donald Trump falsely claimed victory in a tight U.S. election.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index gained 0.7%, with Commercial International Bank adding 1.2%.

On Wednesday, the Arab state's cabinet approved a new law to issue sovereign sukuk and will send it to parliament for a vote, finance minister Mohamed Maait said.

Once parliament and the president approve the law, the country will issue its first sovereign sukuk, the ministry said.

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

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

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