Gulf bourses end higher on firmer oil prices; Saudi outperforms

An investor monitors a screen displaying stock information at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange June 25, 2014./File Photo

Oct 3 (Reuters) - Most Gulf stock markets closed higher on Monday as oil prices rose ahead of the OPEC+ meet, with the Saudi index outperforming its peers in the region.

Crude prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial market, jumped by about $4 as OPEC+ considered reducing output by more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) to buttress prices with what would be its biggest cut since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oil prices have tumbled for four straight months since June, as COVID-19 lockdowns in top energy consumer China hurt demand, while rising interest rates and a surging U.S. dollar weighed on global financial markets.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index (<.TASI>) advanced 1.1%, boosted by a 3% rise in Retal Urban Development Co (<4322.SE>) and a 3.5% leap in Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services (<4013.SE>).

The kingdom may raise prices for most crude grades it sells to Asia in November on expectations of demand recovery and higher output at Chinese refineries after the issuance of new product export quotas. read more

The benchmark index (<.QSI>) in Qatar, the largest natural gas producer in the Gulf Cooperation Council, finished 0.4% higher.

The Qatari bourse continued to see some gains, while natural gas prices remained relatively stable, said Wael Makarem, Senior Market Strategist at Exness.

"The market could find some support as local companies ready themselves to publish quarterly earnings."

Europe has launched investigations after major leaks were discovered in the two Russian Nord Stream gas pipelines, which sent gas prices soaring and sparked a hunt for alternative supplies.

In Abu Dhabi, the index (<.FTFADGI>) added 0.1%, supported by a 0.2% increase in the United Arab Emirates' biggest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (<FAB.AD>).

Dubai's main share index (<.DFMGI>) fell 0.6%, hit by a 10% slide in Mashreq Bank (<MASB.DU>). The lender surged 15% in the previous session on media reports that it received bids from several companies to purchase stake in its payment unit.

According to Makarem, markets in the region could record some volatility as key U.S. data is expected this week.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index (<.EGX30>) closed flat.

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

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