Saudi index leads major Gulf bourses higher in early trade

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A woman walks through the Dubai Financial Market after Joe Biden won the U.S. presidency, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates November 8, 2020. REUTERS/Christopher Pike

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Nov 24 (Reuters) - Major stock markets in the Gulf rose in early trading on Wednesday with the Saudi index leading the gains on the back of its financial shares.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index (.TASI) was up 0.9%, on track to extend gains from the previous session.

On Tuesday, the index snapped three sessions of declines triggered by tensions with Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis, who claimed responsibility for drone attacks in several parts of the kingdom, including at Saudi Aramco facilities in Jeddah. read more

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Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) rose 1.2%, while the kingdom's largest lender Saudi National Bank (1180.SE) climbed 1.4%.

On Wednesday, the Saudi-led coalition said it was launching air strikes on "legitimate" military targets in Yemen's capital Sanaa and asked civilians not to approach the targeted areas. read more

Dubai's main share index (.DFMGI) rebounded 0.6%, with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU) putting on 2.1%.

The Abu Dhabi index .

Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets, inched higher as investors remained sceptical about the effectiveness of a U.S.-led release of strategic oil reserves and turned their focus to big oil producers.

All eyes are on how the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and their allies, together called OPEC+, will react to the joint reserve release when they meet on Dec. 2 to discuss production policy.

In Qatar, the benchmark (.QSI) added 0.1%, with Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan (MARK.QA) gaining 0.2%.

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Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by David Clarke

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