Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Mideast Stocks: Abu Dhabi outperforms as major Gulf markets rise

Major stock markets in the Gulf traded higher on Tuesday, led by indexes in the United Arab Emirates where telecoms firms surged on prospects that non-UAE nationals’ shareholdings could rise.

In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark rose 2.1%, boosted by an 11.1% jump in Emirates Telecommunications (Etisalat).

Etisalat saw its biggest percentage gain in 10 months as the company called a board meeting for Wednesday, to discuss increasing the foreign ownership limit in the company. 

Dubai’s main share index gained 1%, with Emirates Integrated Telecommunications jumping more than 10%, its biggest intraday gain since December 2014, after it also called a board meeting for Wednesday to discuss raising the ownership of foreign investors. 

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, changed its company laws late last year to allow more foreign investment as it seeks to boost private sector activity. 

In Qatar, the index rose 0.2%, with Qatar National Bank (QNB) rising 0.9%.

QNB, the Gulf’s biggest bank by assets, expects its business in Saudi Arabia will pick up only gradually after reviving its Riyadh branch that was dormant for more than three years due to a diplomatic and economic rift. 

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index edged up 0.1%, supported by a 0.4% gain in Al Rajhi Bank.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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