Mideast Stocks: Oil buoys Saudi shares; top lender trips Abu Dhabi

All Saudi Arabian banks gain

  
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

The Saudi Arabian stock market ended higher on Tuesday, amid rising oil prices as the focus returned to a tighter market, while the Abu Dhabi index retreated, hit by First Abu Dhabi Bank which went ex-dividend.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index advanced over 1%, as all its banking shares gained including Al Rajhi Bank which finished 4.8% higher.

Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets, rose to $69 a barrel on Tuesday as investors focused on prospects for tighter supply and amid growing hopes of a recovery in demand. 

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and allies, known as OPEC+, decided on Thursday to broadly stick to output cuts, fuelling a rally.

Crude hit its highest since the start of the pandemic on Monday after Yemen's Houthi forces fired drones and missiles at Saudi oil sites on Sunday. The kingdom said it thwarted the strike and prices slipped as supply fears eased. 

In Abu Dhabi, the index slid 1.8%, with the United Arab Emirates' largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank falling 4.8%, roughly equivalent to the dividend payment.

The Qatari index gained 0.7%, with petrochemical maker Industries Qatar rising 2.8%.

However, the index's gains were capped by losses at utility firm Qatar Electricity and Water and a Barwa Real Estate Company as the duo went ex-dividend.

Dubai's main share index eased 0.1%, weighed down by a 1.1% drop in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index fell 1.1%, as majority of the stocks on the index retreated.

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


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