|19 February, 2020

Mideast Stocks: Saudi leads most of Gulf higher; Dubai bucks the trend

All Saudi Arabian banks gain

A Saudi trader monitors stocks at the Saudi stock market in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 8, 2020.

A Saudi trader monitors stocks at the Saudi stock market in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 8, 2020.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

Most stocks in the Gulf closed higher on Thursday, with Saudi leading gains that tracked global share and oil prices as investor worries about the coronavirus epidemic eased somewhat after a slight decline in the number of new cases.

Mainland China had 1,749 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Tuesday, the country's National Health Commission said on Wednesday, down from 1,886 cases a day earlier and the lowest since Jan. 29.

Brent crude LCOc1 was up by 75 cents at $58.50 a barrel by 1003 GMT.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index advanced 1.4%, boosted by a 1.4% rise in Al Rajhi Bank1120.SE and a 1.3% gain in National Commercial Bank.

Al Moammar Information Systems soared 9.9%, its biggest intraday-gain since it began trading in April, following a rise in annual profit.

Elsewhere, oil giant Saudi Aramco was up 0.6%.

Aramco Trading Co has sealed a new deal to secure long-term crude oil supplies from state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp that can be processed at refineries owned by Saudi Aramco in Asia, Reuters reported, citing trade sources. 

The Qatari index increased 1.1%, with 16 of 20 stocks on the index gaining. Lender Masraf Al RayanMARK.QA rose 2.6%, while Industries Qatar hiked 1.8%.

However, Doha Bank fell a further 5.9%, to become the top loser. On Monday, the bank reported profits of 754 million riyals ($205.29 million) in 2019, down from 830 million riyals a year earlier.

Abu Dhabi's index rose 0.4% as telecoms firm Etisalat gained 0.6% and International Holding Company leapt 4.4%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's index added 0.4%, helped by a 0.8% gain in top lender Commercial International Bank.

In Dubai, the index lost 0.8%. Emirates NBD Bank eased 0.4% and DAMAC Properties tumbled 5.4%.

Last week, DAMAC swung to net loss, from profit a year earlier. That was the company's first yearly loss since 2010, according to Refinitiv data.

($1 = 3.6729 UAE dirham)

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

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