Mideast Stocks: Major Gulf markets gain as financial shares rise

Qatar to tap debt markets only on 'opportunistic' basis in 2021

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

Major stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Tuesday, supported by their financial stocks, with the Abu Dhabi index leading the gains.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index added 0.3%, with Saudi National Bank rising 2.5% and petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries strengthening 0.7%.

Yemen's warring parties are thrashing out terms for a peace deal that would extricate the kingdom from a costly war and help alleviate a devastating humanitarian crisis, Reuters reported, citing two sources close to the talks and a Houthi official. 

One of the sources said Riyadh was open to a deal but "would need some additional guarantees from Oman and Iran", both with close ties with the Houthis.

Dubai's main share index closed 0.3% higher, supported by a 1.2% rise in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and a 1.5% increase in its unit Emaar Malls .

Dubai's state airport operator is hoping for a "flood" of travellers as the pandemic eases, targeting passenger traffic through Dubai International Airport to grow 8% to 28 million this year. 

"As infection rates in the region remain stable, Dubai announced the opening of its airport terminals this week in a sign of easing of covid-related restrictions," said Michael Stark, research analyst at Exness.

"The move should help the aviation sector get back on track and boost the economy."

In Abu Dhabi, the index .ADI gained 0.5%, with the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank FAB.AD rising 1% and aquaculture firm International Holding IHC.AD concluding 0.8% higher.

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is offering tourists free COVID-19 vaccinations that were previously restricted to UAE citizens and residency visa holders. 

The Qatari index was up 0.3%, bolstered by a 6.9% jump in telecom firm Ooredoo.

Qatar will tap the debt market only on an "opportunistic" basis this year after a surge in energy prices reduced the budget financing needs of the gas-rich Gulf state, the acting minister of finance said. 

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip advanced 1.4%, as most of the stocks on the index were in positive territory including its top lender Commercial International Bank, which was up 1.6%.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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