Mideast Stocks: Saudi stocks extend gains, most major Gulf markets up in early trade

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.4%, helped mostly by financial and material shares


Most major Gulf markets rose in early trade on Wednesday, with Saudi stocks extending gains into a seventh session amid rising oil prices.

Oil prices rose on Wednesday after OPEC and its allies stuck to their plan to cautiously bring back more oil supply to the markets in June and July while expecting a robust recovery in demand in the United States and China.

Brent crude futures climbed 0.31% to $70.47 a barrel. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.4%, helped mostly by financial and material shares.

The Kingdom's largest lender Saudi National Bank and Al Rajhi Bank increased 1.3% and 0.2%, respectively, while National Industrialization Company added 2.6%.

The Saudi index is up 22% this year following an end to a diplomatic rift with Qatar, and on rising oil prices, improving business activity in its non-oil sector and inflows of foreign funds.

Brent crude futures have gained 35% this year, according to Refinitiv Eikon data, and a monthly statement from the Saudi stock exchange showed that foreigners have been net buyers of Saudi stocks every month so far this year. 

In April, the seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers' Index, which covers manufacturing and services, remained above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction for the eighth straight month. 

The index in Abu Dhabi edged up 0.1%, supported by a 1.2% increase in International Holdings Company.

IHC said on Monday it listed its construction unit Emirates Stallions on the Abu Dhabi securities exchange's second market. Emirates Stallions is the fourth IHC group company to list on the ADX second market, following the listings of Palm Sports, Easylease and Zee Stores in late 2020. 

Gains were partially capped by ADNOC Distribution, which fell 2.1%.

The Dubai index traded 0.1% higher, with Damac Properties rising 3.6% and Dubai Islamic Bank gaining 0.4%.

The Qatari index was trading flat, with the Gulf's largest lender Qatar National Bank adding 0.6% and Industries Qatar losing 0.2%.

(Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill) ((Maqsood.Alam@thomsonreuters.com;))

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