Mideast Stocks - Saudi stocks gain as most of Gulf markets rise

Oil-giant Saudi Aramco added a further 0.7% after a 0.4% rise in the previous session


Saudi Arabia's stock market rose early on Sunday, extending gains for a second session on the back of firmer banking and energy shares, while other major Gulf markets were mostly up.

The Saudi index rose 0.7% as Al Rajhi Bank gained 1.4%, while oil-giant Saudi Aramco added a further 0.7% after a 0.4% rise in the previous session.

On Tuesday, Aramco said Goldman Sachs may make additional purchases of the oil giant's shares to support the price of the stock. The so-called stabilisation period will end on Jan. 9. 

Saudi Arabian Amiantit was up 0.7% after it agreed to sell its entire stake in two Egyptian units.

In Abu Dhabi, the index rebounded 0.4%, led by a 0.9% rise in telecoms firm Etisalat, while top lender First Abu Dhabi Bank opened 0.4% higher.

Dubai's index edged up 0.3%, with the United Arab Emirates' largest sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank and budget airliner Air Arabia rising 0.6% and 1.9%, respectively.

The UAE's central bank on Wednesday said it expected gross domestic product to increase by 2% in the fourth quarter from the same period last year, state news agency WAM reported. 

The Qatari index traded flat with petrochemicals and financial stocks moving sideways. Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's largest lender, was down 0.7%, while Mesaieed Petrochemical advanced 2%.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

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