Major Gulf markets gain as investors shrug off US debt-ceiling talks

A general view of the Dubai Financial Market in Dubai
A general view shows the Dubai Financial Market after Joe Biden wins U.S. presidency, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates November 8, 2020. REUTERS/Christopher Pike

May 17 (Reuters) - Major stock markets in the Gulf rose in early trade on Wednesday as investors shrugged off concerns around the U.S. government's debt-ceiling negotiations.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Republican House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Monday prepared for the critical debt-ceiling talks, with a little more than two weeks to go before the U.S. government could run short of money to pay its bills.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index (.TASI) added 0.2%, on course to end a three-day winning streak, led by a 1.8% rise in the country's biggest lender Saudi National Bank (1180.SE).

On the other hand, oil behemoth Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) lost 0.9% as the stock traded ex-dividend.

The kingdom's plans for another multibillion-dollar Aramco stock offering have gained momentum, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Dubai's main share index (.DFMGI) advanced 0.7%, with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU) climbing 1.4% and Emirates Central Cooling Systems (EMPOWER.DU) putting on 2.4%.

Separately, a new Dubai organisation focused on family businesses, a key component of the emirate's economy, on Tuesday said it would support the growth of family firms and help them survive generational transitions.

Family-owned businesses contribute 60% of the United Arab Emirates Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 80% of its workforce, consultancy KPMG said in a report last year.

In Abu Dhabi, the index (.FTFADGI) gained 0.2%.

The Qatari benchmark (.QSI) climbed 1.3%, as most of the stocks on the index were in positive territory, including the Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank (QNBK.QA), which was up 2.9%, following media reports that the Gulf state is planning to boost the stock market to attract foreigners.

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Sohini Goswami

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