Mideast Stocks: Most Gulf markets rise in early trade; Qatari stocks ease

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.3%


Most major markets in the Gulf traded higher early on Thursday, with Sipchem supporting the Saudi index, while Qatar bucked the trend to open lower to snap a three-session winning streak.

Crude oil prices rose after vaccine rollouts bolstered the economic outlook and U.S. fuel stocks fell sharply. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.3%, with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 0.7%, while Sahara International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) advanced 3.7% after reporting a 175.9 million riyals ($46.90 million) net profit for the year 2020.  

The kingdom's foreign minister said on Wednesday it will take action to deter attacks on its oil facilities, following an attack on the heart of the industry this week by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement. 

Saudi authorities said they foiled the attack with no casualties or serious damage.

Separately, Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, said on Wednesday it signed a $15 billion multi-currency revolving credit facility with a group of 17 banks, which it said gives it access to extra capital that can be deployed quickly when needed. 

In Dubai, the index was up 0.3%, driven by a 0.7% gain in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.

Elsewhere, Dubai Investments added 2% after announcing a 8% cash dividend for the year 2020. 

The Abu Dhabi index edged up 0.2%, as market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank added 0.4% and Dana Gas climbed 4.5% — its sharpest daily gain in more than eight months.

Dana Gas announced a 5.5 fils per share dividend for the year 2020, despite posting a 1.38 billion dirhams loss for the year. 

The Qatari index, however, eased 0.1%, hit by a 2.1% drop in Qatar Islamic Bank.

($1 = 3.7506 riyals)

(Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V) ((shamsuddin.mohd@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497252;))

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