Mideast Stocks- Dubai, Abu Dhabi end higher, log weekly gains on vaccine hopes

Major stock markets in the Gulf were little changed on Sunday

An investor looks up at electronic display boards at the Dubai International Financial Market, March 21, 2010.

An investor looks up at electronic display boards at the Dubai International Financial Market, March 21, 2010.

REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Dubai and Abu Dhabi markets ended higher on Thursday and delivered gains over the week, lifted by hopes a faster economic recovery with the development and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

Britain began vaccinations this week, while the United States could start as soon as this weekend. Canada said initial vaccine shots would be delivered soon.

Riding the optimism, oil prices, a key catalyst for Gulf markets, have risen consistently in the past six weeks, with the Brent crude LCOc1 moving above $49 a barrel

Dubai's main share index gained 0.3%, helped by a 1.5% rise in Dubai Islamic Bank and a 3.3% gain in Union Properties. The Dubai benchmark index registered a 5.3% gain for the week.

In Abu Dhabi, the index closed 0.6% higher, with the United Arab Emirates' largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank FAB.AD rising 0.6% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank gaining 1.8%.

The index bounced back from a lose the previous week to close up almost 3% this week.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index eased 0.2%, with Al-Rajhi Bank slipping 0.5%. The index posted a 0.4% weekly loss.

Health authorities in Saudi Arabia have registered the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for import and use in the country, state news agency SPA said on Thursday. 

Elsewhere, the Qatari index fell 0.7%, weighed down by a 2.4% fall in petrochemical firm Industries Qatar.

Qatar set a 2021 budget of 194.7 billion riyals ($53.5 billion), a 7.5% cut in spending from 2020 and forecast a deficit of 34.6 billion riyals next year on lower revenues. 

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index lost 0.3%. El Sewedy Electric Co eased 2.6%, while real estate stock Heliopolis fell nearly 5%.

Egypt's annual urban consumer price inflation in November quickened to 5.7% from 4.5% in October, official statistics agency CAPMAS said, driven by the price of food. 

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Edmund Blair) ((abyjose.koilparambil@thomsonreuters.com; +91 (0)8061822683;))

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