Mideast Stocks: Most major Gulf markets gain; Abu Dhabi dips

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index added 0.4%, bolstered by a 0.6% gain in Al Rajhi Bank and a 1.2% increase in Saudi National Bank

  

Most major stock markets in the Gulf rose in early trade on Wednesday, supported by gains in financials and property shares, although the Abu Dhabi index bucked the trend to trade lower.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index added 0.4%, bolstered by a 0.6% gain in Al Rajhi Bank and a 1.2% increase in Saudi National Bank.

The Saudi central bank said on Tuesday it is extending a deferred payment programme in favour of small and medium enterprises by another period of three months, starting July 1. 

However, the index's gains were capped by losses in Saudi Telecom Company, which retreated 0.6%.

The kingdom's Public Investment Fund is considering divesting part of its stake in Saudi Telecom, sources close to the matter told Reuters, as the sovereign wealth fund seeks to monetise some of its assets. 

Dubai's main share index rose 0.6%, with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties rising 1.4%, while its unit Emaar Malls advanced 1.9%.

Dubai repaid $500 million in bonds due on Tuesday in what the government said was a sign of fiscal stability despite the coronavirus-driven economic downturn. 

Elsewhere, DAMAC Properties was up 0.6%.

The founder of DAMAC has postponed efforts to take the firm private after the securities regulator of the United Arab Emirates launched a review of the transaction, the company said on Tuesday. 

Sajwani made a $595 million offer this month to buy out minority shareholders in DAMAC Properties, which he has run for nearly two decades. 

In Abu Dhabi, the index eased 0.2%, hit by a 0.2% fall in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank.

The Qatari index gained 0.4%, with Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's biggest lender, rising 0.4% and Commercial Bank firming 1.1%.

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.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Schmollinger) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))


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