|20 January, 2020

Mideast Stocks: Saudi stocks gain as Aramco rebounds; other markets little changed

First Abu Dhabi Bank lifts Abu Dhabi

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

Saudi stocks edged up on Monday, supported by gains in financial shares and a rebound by Saudi Aramco after three sessions of losses, while other Middle Eastern markets were little changed.

Saudi Arabia's index gained 0.2% as Saudi Aramco reversed course to close up 0.7% at 34.6 riyals ($9.22), offsetting earlier losses.

On Sunday, Al Rajhi Capital Research rated Aramco "neutral", in line with most other brokerages, and set a target price of 37.5 riyals per share.

JP Morgan was the first major brokerage to initiate coverage of Saudi Aramco, rating it "overweight" and setting a price target of 37 riyals per share. It said it sees scope for an increase in the company's proposed $75 billion base dividend. 

Banque Saudi Fransi rose 1.8% and the chemicals company Saudi Basic Industries gained 0.8%. National Medical Care  gained 1.7% after the government awarded a medical services contract worth 278.5 million riyals ($74.24 million).

The Abu Dhabi index was up 0.8% as First Abu Dhabi Bank rose 1.2%. Aquaculture firm International Holding jumped 9.9%.

In Egypt, the blue-chip index declined 1% as 28 of 30 stocks fell, including Commercial International Bank Egypt, which declined 1.8%, Talaat Mostafa Group Holding , which closed down 3.2%.

Egyptians and Arab investors were net seller of stocks, according to exchange data.

Dubai shares snapped a seven-session winning streak, closing down 0.4%. Emirates NBD fell 1.1% and Dubai Islamic Bank  0.5%.

The Qatari index slipped 0.2%, also after seven sessions of gains, as Industries Qatar fell 0.9% and the Gulf's largest bank, Qatar National Bank, lost 0.5%.

($1 = 3.7515 riyals)

(Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru) ((Maqsood.Alam@thomsonreuters.com;))

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