|29 March, 2020

Mideast Stocks: Most major Gulf stocks gain on coronavirus measures

In Abu Dhabi, the index advanced 2.9%,

Investors look at stock exchange information at the Dubai Financial Market December 14, 2009. Image for illustrative purpose.

Investors look at stock exchange information at the Dubai Financial Market December 14, 2009. Image for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Mosab Omar

Most major Gulf bourses rose on Sunday as the states took more stringent measures to contain the coronavirus, though Qatar's index fell after the nation's first death from the virus.

In Abu Dhabi, the index advanced 2.9%, led by a 6.2% gain for First Abu Dhabi BankFAB.AD and a 3.2% gain by telecoms company Etisalat.

The Dubai index added 1.3%, with blue-chip developer Emaar PropertiesEMAR.DU jumping by 5.7% and Dubai Investments up 3.7%.

The United Arab Emirates' attorney-General, Hamad Saif Al Shamsi, issued a statement detailing coronavirus-related fines, including 50,000 dirhams ($13,613) for non-compliance with home quarantine orders and 3,000 dirhams for individuals violating curfew. 

The UAE, the region's tourism and business hub, has also halted passenger flights at its main airports, except for evacuation trips.

Last week the UAE cabinet approved an additional 16 billion dirhams ($4.36 billion) for a total stimulus package of 126 billion dirhams to counter the coronavirus outbreak. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index closed 0.8% up, extending gains from the previous session. Al Rajhi Bank rose 1.9% while Jabal Omar Development advanced by 4.8%.

On Sunday the kingdom said it was extending indefinitely the suspension of international passenger flights and workplace attendance in both the public and private sectors as part of its efforts to contain the spread of the virus. 

In Qatar, however, the index lost 0.6%. Most stocks closed lower, including a 1.4% decline for Industries Qatar .

The Gulf state on Saturday recorded its first death from the coronavirus and 28 more cases to take its total to 590 infections, the health ministry said. 

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index dropped 1.5%. Commercial International Bank and Egypt Kuwait Holding both retreated by 2.2%.

Egyptian banks have been instructed to apply temporary limits on daily withdrawals and deposits in a move seemingly designed to control inflation and hoarding as concern grows over the spread of the coronavirus.

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

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

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