Major stock markets in the Gulf region rose in early trade on Wednesday, with Dubai shares leading the gains, buoyed by a jump in property shares.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.4%, led by a 2.2% gain in Saudi Telecom Company and a 1.1% increase in Saudi Basic Industries.
Saudi Chemical Company extended gains and soared 9.9%. The stock had gained 10% on Tuesday to become the top gainer on the index, after the chemicals firm signed a memorandum of understanding with the Russian Direct Investment Fund to provide coronavirus vaccine in the kingdom.
Leading gains in the region, Dubai's main stock index gained 0.8%, with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties rising 2.1% and its unit Emaar Malls trading 4.7% higher.
Emirates Integrated Telecommunications extended gains, rising 1.7%. On Tuesday, the telecoms firm said it had agreed to sell its 26% indirect stake in Khazna Data Centre for AED 800 million dirhams ($217.82 million), which will result in a net profit of 521 million dirhams.
The Abu Dhabi index edged up 0.2%, supported by a 0.2% rise in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank.
Israel's Bank Leumi said on Tuesday it had signed memorandums of understanding with First Abu Dhabi Bank and Emirates NBD, hours before Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed agreements toward normalising relations.
But the Dubai-listed shares of Emirates NBD Bank traded flat.
The Qatar index inched up 0.2%, with United Development Company jumping 3.9%, while Qatar Fuel Company was up 0.8%.
($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))