Middle East

Middle East stocks: Most Gulf markets gain; Saudi bourse slips

(Reuters) – Most Middle Eastern markets ended higher on Wednesday, with Bahrain outperforming the region, while bank stocks weighed on the Saudi index.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index .TASI slipped 0.1% and snapped a four-session winning streak, weighed by Al Rajhi Bank’s 1120.SE 0.4% fall and Riyad Bank’s 1010.SE 1.3% tumble.

Saudi Arabia’s largest telecoms operator Saudi Telecom Company (STC) 7010.SE gained 1% as STC has asked banks to pitch for roles in a potential public offering of its products and services development arm, Reuters reported, citing sources.

Saudi Chemical Company 2230.SE surged 9.9%, extending gains from the previous session, when the chemicals firm signed a memorandum of understanding with the Russian Direct Investment Fund to provide a coronavirus vaccine in the kingdom.

Dubai’s main share index .DFMGI rose 0.4%, supported by a 2.1% gain in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties EMAR.DU and a 3.4% leap in Emaar Malls EMAA.DU.

The Abu Dhabi index .ADI slipped 0.1%, hurt by the country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank FAB.AD 0.4% fall and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank ADCB.AD a 0.7% decrease.

In Qatar, the index .QSI added 0.5%, with Qatar Islamic Bank QISB.QA rising 1.1% and Qatar National Bank (QNB) QNBK.QA, the Gulf’s largest lender, gaining 0.8%.

On Tuesday, Qatar saw its first green bond issue when Qatar National Bank sold $600 million of the notes, making it only the second commercial bank in the Gulf to venture into the green market.

Bahrain, which signed agreements on Tuesday along with the United Arab Emirates to establish formal ties with Israel, the index .BAX advanced 1.2%, outperforming regional peers.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index .EGX30 closed up 0.6%, with top lender Commercial International Bank COMI.CA gaining 1%.

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel

FILE PHOTO: Traders look at the screens at Bahrain Bourse in Manama, Bahrain, February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

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