Mideast Stocks: Gulf markets rally on upbeat global economic outlook

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index was up 0.6%

  
A Saudi trader observes the stock market on monitors at Falcom stock exchange agency in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 7, 2018.

A Saudi trader observes the stock market on monitors at Falcom stock exchange agency in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 7, 2018.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Most major Gulf markets extended gains on Wednesday as investors cheered prospects of a faster-than-expected global economic recovery, driven mainly by encouraging news on the COVID-19 vaccine development front.

Financial markets worldwide have gained in the past couple of weeks as U.S. drugmakers Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc and British firm AstraZeneca released positive data on the effectiveness of their vaccine candidates.

Aiding sentiment, the uncertainty over presidential transition in the United States seemed ending with President Donald Trump's administration clearing the way for President-elect Joe Biden to prepare for the start of his administration.

Oil, a key catalyst for the economies in the Gulf region, rose for the fourth straight session as the market shrugged off an industry report showing U.S. crude stockpiles rose more than expected, extending a rally driven by vaccine hopes. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index was up 0.6%. National Commercial Bank gained 1.9%, while Saudi Basic Industries Corp advanced 1.5%.

Index heavyweight Saudi Aramco led the losses, with the state oil firm slipping 0.4%, while National Commercial Bank shed 0.5%.

The Saudi benchmark is on track to gain for a fourth consecutive session.

Dubai's main share index tacked on 0.8%, with Dubai Islamic Bank and property firm Emaar Properties leading the gains, up 1.8% and 1.2%, respectively.

The Abu Dhabi index bounced back from the previous session's losse to gain about 0.2%. Lenders Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and First Abu Dhabi Bank led the gains, putting on 0.8% and 0.2%, respectively.

In Qatar also, the index gained about 0.2%, buoyed by Industries Qatar, which traded up 1.4%.

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V) ((abyjose.koilparambil@thomsonreuters.com; +91 (0)8061822683;))

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