Mideast Stocks: Saudi stocks gain ahead of OPEC meet, other major Gulf markets mixed

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.6%

  

The Saudi Arabian stock market gained in early trade on Thursday as oil prices strengthened ahead of an OPEC meeting to discuss supply cuts, while other major Gulf markets were mixed.

Oil prices rose more than 1% ahead of the meeting in which Saudi Arabia is expected to push OPEC and its allies including Russia to agree to further output cuts to support the market.

Prices of brent crude have tumbled by a fifth this year in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic that has impacted global travel, production and supply chains.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.6%, with heavyweights Al Rajhi Bank and Saudi Telecom adding 0.5% and 1.1%, respectively.

State-owned Saudi Aramco climbed 0.3% to 33.15 riyals ($8.83).

Elsewhere, Company For Cooperative Insurance and Mediterranean And Gulf Cooperative Insurance And Reinsurance advanced 3.5% and 3.2%, respectively, after both the insurers reported a profit before zakat in 2019, compared with a loss last year.

In Abu Dhabi, the index was down 0.3%, with the market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank shedding 0.8%, and Abu Dhabi National Energy losing 9.9%.

The Dubai index edged up 0.2%. Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties EMAR.DU gained 0.9%, while Emirates Integrated Telecommunications  added 2%.

However, Dubai's largest bank, Emirates NBD, retreated 1.3% after it said it would cut transaction tariffs over the next three months to support businesses in the United Arab Emirates, which were affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Qatari index was down 0.5% as Qatar Fuel declined 4.2%, while the Gulf's largest lender Qatar National Bank shed 1.2%.

Telecom operator Ooreddo, which announced the appointment of a new chairman, dropped 2.5% as it traded ex-dividend.

($1 = 3.7523 riyals)

(Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath) ((Maqsood.Alam@thomsonreuters.com;))

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