Mideast Stocks: Saudi index hits multi-year peak as Gulf bourses end higher

Major stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Sunday

  
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

Major stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Sunday amid strong oil prices, with the Saudi index hitting a multi-year peak as the country eased coronavirus curbs.

The kingdom is rolling back COVID-19 restrictions from Oct. 17 in response to a sharp drop in daily infections and a considerable development in vaccinations. 

Saudi Arabia has also lifted social distancing measures and will allow full-capacity attendance at the country's two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina for those who have taken the full dose of vaccine.

The Saudi benchmark index gained 0.6%, buoyed by a 5.8% jump in Jabal Omar Development Co, one of Saudi Arabia's largest listed property developers.

The developer operates a flagship complex of hotels and residential and commercial property within walking distance of the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.

Among other gainers, oil giant Saudi Aramco added 0.3%, zooming in on a $2 trillion valuation.

In Abu Dhabi, the index rose 0.3%, with telecoms firm Etisalat gaining 0.6%, while Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank climbed 2%.

Conglomerate International Holding Co (IHC) plans to list subsidiary Multiply, a holding company that invests in tech-focused businesses, on Abu Dhabi's main stock market this year, IHC's chief executive said. 

Shares of IHC inched 0.2% higher.

Dubai's main share index increased 0.5%, with Dubai Islamic Bank rising 1.2% and Dubai Investments up 1.8%.

UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said the oil-rich Gulf is continuing to invest in the energy sector to meet growing demand and ensure stability in global markets.

The Qatari benchmark finished 0.8% higher, with Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's biggest lender, advancing 1.8%, while Qatar Islamic Bank added 1.2%.

Post trading hours, the sharia-compliant lender reported a net profit of 2.53 billion riyals ($694.8 million) for the nine months ended Sept. 30, a 13.9% increase compared to same period year before. 

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index closed 1.5% higher, with most of the stocks on the index in positive territory including Commercial International Bank.

($1 = 3.6411 Qatar riyals)

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


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