Mideast Stocks: Most stock markets in Gulf rise, in line with oil prices

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index climbed 0.8%


Most stock markets in the Gulf rose in early trade on Monday, on course to extend gains from the previous session in line with rising oil prices.

Crude prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets, rose by more than $1 a barrel after top exporter Saudi Arabia raised prices for its crude sold to Asia and the United States, and as indirect U.S.-Iran talks on reviving a nuclear deal appeared to hit an impasse. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index climbed 0.8%, led by a 2.9% rise in Al Rajhi Bank and a 2.2% gain in petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, is selling a 5.01% stake in Saudi Telecom Co (STC) through a secondary share offering, STC said on Sunday.

PIF plans to sell 100.2 million shares at a price range of 100 riyals to 116 riyals per share, potentially raising as much as 11.623 billion riyals ($3.10 billion) at the top end of the range.

Shares of STC were down more than 3%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index gained 0.7%, with Emirates Telecommunications Group advancing 3%, on track to for a ninth session in ten.

In November, the telecom operator signed an agreement to acquire online grocery delivery marketplace elGrocer DMCC. 

Dubai's main share index advanced 1.5%, buoyed by a 1.9% rise in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and a 1.6% increase in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.

The United Arab Emirates' top national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan will visit Iran on Monday to discuss expanding bilateral ties with the Islamic Republic, Iranian state media reported on Sunday. 

The Qatari index added 0.1%, helped by a 1.6% rise in Mesaieed Petrochemical.

($1 = 3.7513 riyals)

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

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