Most Middle Eastern stock markets rose on Wednesday, supported by gains in banking shares and recovering oil prices, while Egypt ended a four-day losing streak.
Oil prices rose for a second day, recouping some losses after a five-day rout, on talk that OPEC would extend oil output cuts if a new coronavirus hurts demand and on data showing a decline in U.S. stockpiles.
Egypt's blue-chip index advanced 1% as Telecom Egypt soared 10% following Vodafone Group's agreement to sell its stake in Egyptian unit, Vodafone Egypt .
Telecom Egypt said on Sunday it had no intention of selling its 45% stake in Vodafone Egypt.
Stock exchange data showed that Egyptian investors were net buyers of stocks.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index increased 0.2% with Al Rajhi Bank and National Commercial Bank (national commercial bank6) rising 1.4% and 1.6%, respectively.
The latter reported a higher net profit of 11.4 billion riyals ($3.04 billion) in 2019, compared to 9.59 billion riyals year before.
However, the gains were capped by losses at other blue-chip stocks. Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) dropped 1.9% as the chemicals company posted a fourth-quarter loss, compared with profit a year earlier.
Elsewhere, Saudi Telecom closed down 1.1%. It rose earlier following its preliminary agreement to buy Vodafone's 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt for $2.39 billion.
Dubai's main share indexadded 0.5%, supported by a 1.4% rise in Dubai Islamic BankDISB.DU and a 1.1% increase in Emirates NBD Bank.
The Qatari index edged up 0.2%. Qatar National Bank gained 1% and Qatar International Islamic Bank closed up 1.4%, a day after it reported a higher full-year profit.
The Abu Dhabi index ended 0.3% lower with First Abu Dhabi Bank shedding 0.5% and Etisalat down 0.4%.
($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)
($1 = 3.7511 riyals)
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))