January 7, 2019 / 1:16 PM / 8 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil rise lifts all major Gulf markets, Saudi leads gains

    * Saudi trades at multi-month closing high
    * Eleven of 12 Saudi banks gain
    * Al Rajhi reaches near 11-year high
    * Six of seven banks rise in Qatar 

    By Shakeel Ahmad and Ateeq Shariff
    Jan 7 (Reuters) - All major Gulf markets rose for a third
straight session on Monday, boosted by financial stocks amid
rising oil prices, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar gained sharply
as most of their banks increased. 
    Oil prices rose by 2 percent on Monday, extending a rally
from December's 18-month lows with support from OPEC production
cuts and steadying share markets.
    Saudi Arabia's index rose 1.5 percent to close at
its highest since Aug. 12, 2018, with 11 of its 12 banks
    Saudi Arabia is due to join the emerging market indexes of
MSCI and FTSE Russell this year, which is expected to attract
$15 billion of passive, index-linked funds and billions more in
active funds.
    As a result, Saudi Arabia was the favourite market of fund
managers polled by Reuters late last month, with 54 percent
expecting to raise their Saudi equity allocations and none to
reduce them in the next three months. 
    Saudi exchange data released late on Sunday showed that
foreigners were net buyers of 134.3 million riyals ($35.80
million) of stocks last week.
    Al Rajhi Bank, the kingdom's second-largest lender
by assets, rose 2.2 percent to trade at nearly 11-year high; the
stock had gained over 5 percent in the last session on plans to
increase its capital to 25 billion riyals from 16.25 billion
    Bank Aljazira added 2.7 percent after proposing a
dividend of 0.5 riyal per share for year 2018, up from 0.3 riyal
per share a year earlier. 
    The petrochemical sector was mixed, however, with Saudi’s
largest petrochemical maker gaining 1 percent. But Saudi Arabian
Fertilizers dropped 2 percent; earlier this week, it
announced a planned shutdown of its plant for 117 days which,
the firm said, will cost an estimated 121 million riyals. 
    Qatar's index gained 1.4 percent with six of its 7
banks increasing.
    Qatar Commercial Bank jumped 4.1 percent while
market heavyweight Industries Qatar added 2.9 percent.
    In Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates' largest lender First
Abu Dhabi Bank climbed 1 percent, which helped the
index rise 0.6 percent.
    The Dubai index edged up 0.1 percent with the
emirate’s largest lender, Emirates NBD, gaining 2.1
    Egypt market was closed on Monday for a public holiday.
($1 = 3.7509 riyals)
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         rose 1.5 pct at 8,048 points
 DUBAI         The index          was up 0.1 pct to 2,535 points
 QATAR         The index        rose 1.4 pct to 10,494 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        added 0.6 pct to 4,934 points
 KUWAIT        The index        was up 0.5 pct at 5,403 points
 OMAN          The index        gained 0.2 pct to 4,312 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        was flat at 1,331 points

 (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad and Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru;
Editing by Alison Williams)
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