Gulf stocks end mixed as investors remain cautious

A woman walks through the Dubai Financial Market in Dubai
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

March 29 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets ended mixed on Wednesday in a sign investor confidence remains fragile, as they chose to secure their gains amid volatile market conditions despite oil being firmer and banking stability fears receding.

Oil prices — a key catalyst for gulf's financial markets — rose for a third consecutive session on Wednesday, with Brent crude rising 63 cents, or 0.8%, to $79.28 a barrel at 1120 GMT.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index (.TASI) gained 0.3%, after trading flat in its two previous sessions, with Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services (4013.SE) rising 3.6% and Saudi British Bank (1060.SE) adding 1.9%.

The grocery retailer Bindawood Holding (4161.SE) closed 2.4% higher, after it reported a surge in its fourth-quarter net profit to 64.9 million riyals ($17.28 million), compared with a net profit of 13.2 million riyals ($3.52 million) a year earlier.

Dubai's main share index (.DFMGI) was up 0.5%, in its second positive day in a row, boosted by solid gains in financial and industrial stocks.

Emirates NBD Bank (ENBD.DU), Dubai's largest lender, and Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (EMPOWER.DU) inched up 2.3 and 2.4%, respectively.

In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark index (.FTFADGI) closed in red, pressured by a 0.4% slide in First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD), the United Arab Emirates' biggest lender, and a 2.8% dive in Emirates Telecommunications Group (EAND.AD).

Reuters on Tuesday reported through sources that Uber Technologies' Middle East subsidiary Careem is in advanced talks with Emirates Telecommunications Group to invest in its expansion into services beyond ride-hailing.

The benchmark stock index (.QSI) in Qatar retreated 0.9%, mostly dragged down by financial and industrial stocks. Qatar National Bank (QNB) (QNBK.QA), the Gulf's largest lender

and Qatar Islamic Bank (QISB.QA) dropped 1.3% and 3.5%, respectively, while petrochemical makers Industries Qatar (IQCD.QA) was also down 1.3%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index (.EGX30), climbed 2.5%, after a two consecutive session decline, as 28 of the 31 constituent stocks moved in positive territory.

Commercial International Bank (CIB) (COMI.CA), Egypt's biggest private bank, climbed 1.8% while country's lone cigarette maker Eastern Company (EAST.CA) was up 6.1%.

The Egyptian stock market recorded a strong volume surge led by a buying trend from local investors, said Farah Mourad, Senior Market Analyst of XTB MENA.

Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

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