Stock Market News – Most major Gulf markets gain; Qatar eases
(Reuters) – Most major stock markets rose in early trade on Sunday, with the Saudi index helped by gains from its top lender, although Qatar bucked the trend to trade lower.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index increased 0.2%, supported by a 2% gain in Saudi National Bank, earlier known as National Commercial.
On Thursday, National Commercial Bank and Samba Financial Group announced the formal completion of their merger to create largest banking entity in the kingdom.
The lender on Sunday appointed Ammar Abdul Wahed Al Khudiry as Chairman.
In Dubai, the main share index edged up 0.1%, supported by a 0.7% gain in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.
Dubai aims to increase the contribution of creative arts to the emirate’s GDP to 5% from 2.6% within the next five years, Dubai’s ruler said on Saturday.
The Abu Dhabi index gained 0.7%, buoyed by a 6.5% surge in International Holding, on track to extend gains for a ninth session.
The firm has gone through rapid expansion across its major business sectors, resulting in a sharp growth in its financials, positioning it for long-term growth.
So far this year, International Holding has risen over 60%.
In Qatar, the index eased 0.3%, hit by a 0.8% fall in petrochemical maker Industries Qatar.
Qatar’s economy contracted by 3.9% in the fourth quarter of 2020, government data showed, with transportation and storage activity plummeting 32.8% and construction down nearly 5%.
Gross domestic product, based on constant prices, also fell on a quarterly basis, decreasing by 0.5% in the fourth quarter, the Planning and Statistics Authority said in a statement.
Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky