Major markets log weekly gains on vaccine hopes

(Reuters) - Abu Dhabi shares ended lower on Thursday but all major Gulf markets managed weekly gains, riding on a rally fuelled by optimism around COVID-19 vaccine developments.

FILE PHOTO: Traders wait at the Bahrain Bourse after Joe Biden won the U.S. presidency, in Manama, Bahrain, November 8, 2020. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Financial markets globally have gained in most sessions over the past couple of weeks as U.S. drugmakers Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc, and British firm AstraZeneca released positive data on the effectiveness of their vaccine candidates.

Investors are optimistic that progress made on the vaccine front would help economies recover at a faster pace than expected.

Oil slipped from seven-month highs as signs of growing supplies helped to halt a rally driven by hopes that the progress in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic will revive fuel demand. [O/R]

The Abu Dhabi index closed down 0.3%, but managed a weekly rise of 1.2%, marking a ninth successive week of gains.

First Abu Dhabi Bank and telecom major Emirates Telecom were the major decliners in the session, shedding 0.5% and 1%, respectively.

Dubai’s main share index closed higher for a fifth session in a row, climbing 0.3%, with Dubai Islamic Bank gaining 0.7%.

Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co added nearly 2%, while Air Arabia finished up 2.5%.

The Dubai index rose 4.5% for the week, its third straight weekly gain.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index closed up 0.1% to cap a five-session winning run and a fourth straight weekly gain.

Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services Group was the top gainer on the index, jumping 7.5%, while National Commercial Bank led the decliners, shedding nearly a percent on the day.

In Qatar, the index edged down 0.1%, with Qatar Commercial Bank losing nearly a percent. Qatar’s blue-chip index eked out a 1.8% weekly gain.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s benchmark fell about 0.8%, with Commercial International Bank losing close to 1%.

The Oman market was closed on Wednesday and Thursday for a local holiday.

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton