Mideast Stocks - Banks buoy Saudi index; other major Gulf markets quiet

Dubai's main share index edged up 0.2%

  

The Saudi Arabian stock market rose in early trade on Sunday, buoyed by its banking shares, while other major Gulf bourses were little changed.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index gained 0.6%, driven by a 0.5% rise in Al Rajhi Bank and a 1% increase in Riyad Bank.

The kingdom extended for an additional period several government initiatives to support the private sector and investors in mitigating the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, state news agency SPA reported on Thursday, citing a decision by King Salman. 

In Qatar, the index slipped 0.1%, with lender Masraf Al Rayan falling 1.5% and Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's largest lender, down 1.1%.

Masraf Al Rayan and Al Khaliji Commercial Bank said on Tuesday they had begun negotiating a potential merger that could create a combined entity with more than 164 billion riyals ($45 billion) in total assets.

Dubai's main share index edged up 0.2%, supported by a 1.1% gain in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and a 5.2% jump in DAMAC Properties.

On Wednesday, DAMAC saw its biggest intraday gain since March following a Reuters report its chairman is weighing a buyout of minority shareholders and taking the company private. 

The Abu Dhabi index added 0.1%. Aquaculture firm International Holding rose 3.3%, while First Abu Dhabi Bank was up 0.4%.

The United Arab Emirates has adopted a new government structure, involving the merger of ministries and agencies, the country's vice president said on Saturday, adding that the full announcement would be made on Sunday at noon (0800 GMT).

($1 = 3.6411 Qatar riyals)

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

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