|20 January, 2020

Mideast Stocks: Financials lift Saudi market; most Gulf stocks gain

Saudi Arabia's index was up 0.2% with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 0.3% and the biggest bank, National Commercial, adding 0.4%

Most major Gulf stock markets rose on Monday in early trade as gains by financial shares lifted Saudi Arabia and property shares supported Dubai's index.

Saudi Arabia's index was up 0.2% with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 0.3% and the biggest bank, National Commercial, adding 0.4%.

National Medical Care rose 2.1% after the government awarded a medical services contract worth 278.5 million riyals ($74.23 million).

But Saudi Aramco slipped 0.2% to 34.3 riyals and is set for four straight days of decline. On Sunday, Al Rajhi Capital Research rated the Aramco stock "neutral", in line with most other brokerages, and set a target price of 37.5 riyals ($10.00)per share.

JP Morgan was the first major brokerage to initiate coverage of Saudi Aramco with an "overweight" rating, 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.

Dubai's index was set for an eight-session winning streak, adding 0.4%. Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties gained 1% and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications rose 1.9%.

The Abu Dhabi index rose 0.5% with the country's largest bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, gaining 0.8%.

However, the Qatari index was down 0.2% as Industries Qatar fell 0.9% and Mesaieed Petrochemical dropped 1.3%.

($1 = 3.7519 riyals)

(Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King) ((Maqsood.Alam@thomsonreuters.com;))

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