Mideast Stocks: Most major Gulf markets gains; Aramex drags Dubai lower

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.6%


Most major Gulf stock markets opened higher on Thursday, with Saudi Arabia leading the gains on back of its financials, while Dubai bucked the trend.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.6%, led by a 1.1% increase in Al Rajhi Bank and a 1% gain in petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries.

NCB has completed the issuance of additional tier 1 sukuk denominated in Saudi riyals by way of a private placement. 

The issuance amount is 4.2 billion riyals ($1.12 billion), NCB said in a statement on Tadawul.

Dubai's index eased 0.3%, with logistic firm Aramex falling 1.5%, extending losses from the previous session after the stock traded ex-dividend.

The Abu Dhabi index added 0.4%, driven by a 0.5% gain in First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 0.6% rise in Emirates Telecommunications.

United Arab Emirates authorities said on Wednesday residents and citizens were not yet allowed to travel abroad for tourism and leisure purposes and all travel abroad needed a permit, as part of restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of the new coronavirus. 

In Qatar, the index increased 0.3%, with Qatar Islamic Bank rising 0.9% and petrochemical firm Industries Qatar was up 1%.

However, lender Masraf Al Rayan, which closed up 5% in the last session, was down 0.5%.

On Tuesday, Masraf Al Rayan and Al Khaliji Commercial Bank said they had started negotiating a potential merger that could create a combined entity with more than 164 billion riyals ($45.04 billion) in total assets. 

($1 = 3.7506 riyals)

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

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