Mideast Stocks: Major Gulf markets gain on higher oil prices, vaccine progress

Al-Rajhi Bank leads Saudi gains

  
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 Gulf markets ended higher on Monday, in line with global stocks, which were boosted by progress with coronavirus vaccines, while higher oil prices also helped to drive gains.

The United States kicked off its vaccination campaign against COVID-19, raising hopes that pandemic restrictions could end soon and that this will revive the U.S. economy.

Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf regions' financial markets, rose, with Brent climbing above $50 a barrel, buoyed by hopes that a rollout of coronavirus vaccines will lift global fuel demand. A tanker explosion in Saudi Arabia jangled nerves in the market.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index added 0.2%, with Al Rajhi Bank firming 0.4%, while Saudi Basic Industries Corp ended the session 0.8% higher.

Dubai's main share index finished 0.3% higher, with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties gaining 1.1% and Emirates NBD closing nearly one percent higher.

In Abu Dhabi, the index finished 0.3% up, helped by a 0.5% increase in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank rose nearly 2%.

The Abu Dhabi benchmark has now gained for a seventh successive session.

The export credit agencies of the United Arab Emirates and Israel have signed a cooperation agreement to develop economic relations between the two countries. 

The annual exchange of trade between Israel and the UAE across several industries is expected to reach $4 billion per year.

In Qatar, the index strengthened 0.2%, buoyed by a 0.9% rise in petrochemical company Industries Qatar and a 0.5% gain in Qatar National Bank.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index added 0.4%, driven by gains in tobacco company Eastern Co and pharmaceutical company Ibnsina Pharma, which rose 3.2% and 6.4% respectively.

Ibnsina has reached an agreement with the Pharmacists Syndicate to cancel its investment in 3elagi Tech, an application that connects consumers with pharmacies, labs, and healthcare providers and enables them to order medicine online. 

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru. Editing by Jane Merriman) ((abyjose.koilparambil@thomsonreuters.com; +91 (0)8061822683;))


More From Equities