Mideast Stocks: Saudi gains in early trade; other markets mixed

The kingdom's benchmark index was up 0.3%, with state oil company Saudi Aramco rising 1% and Riyad Bank gaining 0.8%

  

Saudi Arabia's stock market rose in early trade on Monday, boosted by energy and financial companies, while shares in the United Arab Emirates moved sideways.

The kingdom's benchmark index was up 0.3%, with state oil company Saudi Aramco rising 1% and Riyad Bank gaining 0.8%.

Saudi Aramco has discovered two new oil and gas fields in the northern regions, the kingdom's energy minister said on Sunday, state news agency SPA reported.

The oil giant will carry on with its efforts to estimate the total amount of oil and gas in the two fields and is drilling more wells to determine their areas and capacities, energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud said.

Dubai's main share index slipped 0.3%, hurt by a 1.8% fall in Emirates NBD Bank and a 0.8% drop in Dubai Investments.

In Abu Dhabi, the index gained 0.4%, helped by a 0.7% rise in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 0.5% increase in Emirates Telecommunications.

The Qatari index edged up 0.1% as utility firm Qatar Electricity and Water Company gained 1.3%.

Meanwhile, the Gulf state has announced changes to its labour laws on Sunday, raising the minimum wage by 25% to 1,000 riyals ($275) a month and scrapping a requirement for workers to get permission from their employers to change jobs.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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