Mideast Stocks: Saudi, Qatar extend gains on U.S. stimulus, others retreat

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 1.5%, with Al Rajhi Bank adding 1.9% and Saudi Basic Industries gaining 2.4%

  

Major stock markets in the Gulf were mixed on Thursday, with Saudi Arabia and Qatar extending gains on hopes that a $2 trillion U.S. emergency stimulus package will shore up economic activity across the globe.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate unanimously backed a $2 trillion bill aimed at helping unemployed workers and industries hurt by the pandemic.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 1.5%, with Al Rajhi Bank adding 1.9% and Saudi Basic Industries gaining 2.4%.

Al Moammar Information Systems jumped 6.6%, after receiving a purchase order worth 134.4 million riyals ($35.81 million).

The kingdom reported its second coronavirus death on Wednesday and tightened a nationwide curfew, barring travel in and out of Riyadh, the capital, and the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, as well as movement between all provinces.

Saudi Chemical Company declined 3.9%, following a steep fall in annual profit.

In Qatar, the index was up 0.7%, supported by a 3.4% rise in Qatar Insurance and a 1.8% gain in Commercial Bank.

The Dubai index declined 1.7%, driven down by a 2.6% fall in Emirates NBD Bank and a 1.8% slide in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.

In Abu Dhabi, which cut the daily maximum allowable decline in shares to 5%, the index eased 2.7%. First Abu Dhabi Bank tumbled 4.3%, while Emirates Telecommunications was down 1.8%.

The United Arab Emirates said it will restrict the movement of traffic and people from 8 p.m. (1600 GMT) on Thursday to 6 a.m. on Sunday as it disinfects public transport and public facilities, state news agency WAM said on Wednesday.

($1 = 3.7535 riyals)

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

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