DUBAI Dec 1 Stock markets in Saudi Arabia and
Qatar rose sharply in early trade on Thursday, led by
petrochemicals on news of OPEC's first agreement on oil output
cuts since 2008 to prop up prices.
Expectations for the agreement had already boosted oil
prices and Gulf bourses in late trade on Wednesday, but the deal
included bigger production cuts than many analysts had expected,
so oil prices continued rising on Thursday morning. Brent crude
hit a six-week high of $52.73 a barrel before falling
The Saudi stock index gained 1.5 percent to 7,103
points in heavy trade during the first half-hour. It is
technically very bullish after confirming on Wednesday a break
of major technical resistance on its April peak of 6,876 points;
that triggered a double bottom formed by this year's lows and
pointing up to around 8,400 points in the long term.
The petrochemical index, most directly sensitive to
oil prices, jumped 3.8 percent and five petrochemical producers
were among the 10 most heavily traded stocks.
But the market's gains were broad-based with 161 stocks
rising and only three falling. Riyadh accepted particularly big
cuts to its production in the OPEC deal, but while that could
hurt headline Saudi gross domestic product growth in coming
quarters, higher oil prices may increase overall Saudi state
revenues, helping the government ease austerity policies
slightly and aiding the economy.
Qatar's stock index climbed 1.1 percent as
petrochemical firm Industries Qatar added 2.9 percent
and oil drilling rig provider Gulf International Services
surged 5.8 percent.
Commercial Bank of Qatar, which earlier this week
set out a turnaround plan under its new chief executive aimed at
stemming a dismal earnings run, jumped 3.8 percent.
Stock markets in Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain
also rose, though by smaller margins. United Arab
Emirates stock markets are closed on Thursday for a public
(Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Andrew Heavens)