April 30, 2020 / 12:22 PM / in a month

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi outperforms region on oil, ease in lockdown

    * Halwani Brothers soars on strong Q1 profit
    * DIB reports a decline in Q1 profit
    * Etisalat, Dana slide on going ex-dividend

    By Ateeq Shariff
    April 30 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market rose
sharply on Thursday, outperforming the region on rising oil
prices and easing coronavirus-related restrictions.
    Benchmark Brent crude was up 11.49%, or $2.59 at
$25.13 a barrel at 1157 GMT, buoyed by signs that the U.S. crude
glut is easing and fuel demand battered by COVID-19 restrictions
is starting to pick up.
    Saudi Arabia's benchmark index advanced 1.8%, with
oil giant Saudi Aramco gaining 2.3%, whereas
petrochemical firm Saudi Basic Industries climbed
4.3%.
    Amongst others, food producer Halwani Brothers
surged 10% to become the top gainer on the index after it
reported a sharp rise in first-quarter profit.
    on Wednesday, Saudis began tentatively returning to shopping
malls and open-air markets after authorities relaxed
restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the novel
coronavirus.
    The Abu Dhabi index reversed earlier losses to close
0.2% up, helped by a 1.6% rise in top lender First Abu Dhabi
Bank.
    However, the gains in Abu Dhabi's index were capped by
losses at telecoms firm Etisalat and energy firm
Dana Gas, which were down 1.2% and 4.9%, respectively.
The duo traded ex-dividend.
    In Dubai, the index rose 1.1%, driven by a 4.9%
jump in Emirates NBD Bank and a 2.2% gain in Dubai
Islamic Bank (DIB).
    DIB, the United Arab Emirates' largest sharia-compliant
lender, reported a net profit of 1.11 billion dirhams ($302.21
million) in first-quarter, down from 1.355 billion dirhams a
year earlier.
    EFG Hermes had projected a figure of 903 million dirhams and
FAB Securities 1.1 billion.
    Qatar's index ended 0.7% higher as petrochemical firm
Industries Qatar leapt 5.3%, while Barwa Real Estate
 added 2.8% ahead of its first-quarter earnings
announcement.
    Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index was up
0.1%, with Commercial International Bank adding 0.7%.

    
 SAUDI ARABIA          rose 1.8% to 7,113 points
 ABU DHABI            edged up 0.2% to 4,230 points
 DUBAI                  added 1.1% to 2,027 points
 QATAR                gained 0.7% to 8,764 points
 EGYPT                  up 0.1% to 10,554 points
 BAHRAIN              inched up 0.2% to 1,311 points
 OMAN                 was flat at 3,539 points
 KUWAIT               was up 1.7% at 5,356 points
 

($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirham)

 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Alex
Richardson)
  
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