Saudi Arabia's stock market rose on Monday, led by banking shares and Aramco, as the oil giant climbed for the fourth straight day since listing. Most other major Gulf bourses were also higher.
Riyadh's benchmark index increased 1.1%, with Al Rajhi Bank and Arab National Bank gaining 1.9% and 3.3%, respectively.
The state-owned firm will join the Tadawul index and global benchmarks such as MSCI and FTSE this week, likely leading to "passive" inflows from investors who track such indexes.
Aramco listed 1.5% of its shares at 32 riyals ($8.53) on the kingdom's Tadawul exchange on Dec. 11 in the world's largest initial public offering (IPO).
Initially priced at $1.7 trillion, the company's valuation has risen to $2 trillion, a level long sought by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Aramco contributed almost half of the turnover on the market on Monday, with 87.5 million shares worth about 3.3 billion riyals ($880 million) changing hands. The Saudi market's total turnover stood at 6.8 billion riyals, Refinitiv data showed.
Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia Fertilizers was up 0.8% after its board proposed a 1.5 riyals per share dividend for the second half of 2019.
Dubai's index added 0.3%, led by a 1.6% rise in Emirates NBD and a 2.7% increase in Air Arabia .
The Abu Dhabi index edged up 0.2%, with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank adding 1.9% and the country's largest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), up 0.1%.
FAB said it had expanded its network in Saudi Arabia by opening a branch in Jeddah.
The Qatari index declined 0.4%. Mesaieed Petrochemical was the biggest drag, falling 2.8%, while Industries Qatar slipped 0.9%.
Egypt's blue-chip index eased 0.2%, driven down by a 1.4% decrease in Commercial International Bank and a 1.8% fall in El Sewedy Electric.
** Bahrain was closed for a public holiday.
($1 = 3.7500 riyals)
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))