May 19, 2020 / 7:55 AM / 6 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks extend gains as Gulf tracks global rally

May 19 (Reuters) - Major Gulf stock markets rose in early trade on Tuesday, taking their cue from gains at global equities on hopes for a coronavirus vaccine and a rally in oil price continued its rally.

“Global sentiment is leading the rise in the local markets supported by recovering oil prices,” said Marie Salem, head of institutions at Daman Securities.

A gauge of global equity markets surged on Monday and Asian shares extended gains on Tuesday after data from Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine, the first to be tested in the United States, showed it produced protective antibodies in a small group of healthy volunteers.

Oil prices rose for a fourth straight session on Tuesday, with Brent crude climbing 0.7% by 0629 GMT, amid signs of output cuts and demand recovery as coronavirus restrictions are eased.

Saudi Arabia’s index extended its gains for a straight third session, surging 1.3% and boosted mostly by rising banking shares.

Al Rajhi bank was up 1.4%, National Commercial Bank <1180.SE rose 2.2% and Samba Financial Group, which reported positive first quarter earnings on Sunday, gained 2%.

Saudi Aramco rose 1.6% to 32.85 riyals in its sixth consecutive day of gains.

Dubai’s index was up 1.4 % with Emaar Properties and Dubai Islamic Bank rising 2.1% and 1.5%, respectively.

In Abu Dhabi, the index rose 0.8%, led by a 1.1% rise in First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB).

FAB, The UAE’s largest bank, stopped the potential acquisition of the Egyptian business of Lebanon’s Bank Audi.

The Qatari index rose 0.4%. Industries Qatar advanced 1.3%. Qatar Electricity and Water added 2.5%.

Qatar has extended a program that provides guarantees to local banks by the Qatar development bank, with interest-free loans for a full year instead of six months, its state news agency reported on Tuesday.[ nL8N2D06KJ]

Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King

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