Mideast Stocks: Qatar leads major Gulf markets higher in early trade

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index gained 0.6%


Major stock markets in the Gulf rose in early trade on Monday, led by gains in financial shares, with Qatar outperforming the region on broad based gains.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index gained 0.6%, led by a 1.9% increase in Banque Saudi Fransi and a 0.3% gain in Al Rajhi Bnnk.

French lender Credit Agricole sold its stake in Banque Saudi Fransi for 1.4 billion riyals ($373.27 million), Bloomberg News reported on Sunday, citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter.

Saudi Arabia plans to resume tourist visas by early 2021 after months of suspension amid strict government measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the kingdom's tourism minister told Reuters.

In Qatar, the index climbed 1%, as most of the shares were in positive territory including the Gulf's largest lender Qatar National Bank, which was up 2.4%.

On Thursday, ratings agency Moody's affirmed the Gulf state's Aa3 rating, while maintaining a stable outlook.

Dubai's main share index rose 0.8%, with Emirates NBD Bank gaining 2.4% and sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank was up 0.5%.

Elsewhere, Aramex advanced 1.3%, on track to end two sessions of losses triggered after the logistics firm on Wednesday confirmed that a portion of its warehouse facility in Morocco had been damaged in a fire.

The Abu Dhabi index added 0.4%, supported by a 2.9% rise in aquaculture firm International Holding.

($1 = 3.7506 riyals)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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