Most major Gulf markets finished higher on Monday, in line with global shares, as optimism over a $1.9 trillion U.S. stimulus plan outweighed concerns about rising COVID-19 cases and delays in vaccine supplies.
Global equity markets scaled record highs last week on bets vaccines will start to reduce infection rates worldwide, and on hopes for a stronger U.S. economic recovery under President Joe Biden.
Oil prices edged up as supply jitters and U.S. stimulus plans offset fresh concerns about the hit to global fuel demand from renewed lockdowns.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index tacked on 0.2%, snapping a four-session losing streak.
Saudi Telecom was the best performer on the benchmark, adding 1.3%, while lender and index heavyweight Al Rajhi Bank gained about 0.3%.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund plans to double its assets to 4 trillion riyals ($1.07 trillion) by 2025, Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Sunday, a move that would make it one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds.
Elsewhere, the Dubai index firmed 0.3%, its first gain in three sessions, buoyed by a 1.7% rise in top lender Emirates NBD and a 1.2% gain in construction major DB Investments Co.
Abu Dhabi’s benchmark edged up 0.1%, helped by gains in telecom major Etisalat, which added nearly 1% on the day.
The United Arab Emirates has approved a public debt strategy aimed at developing its market for local currency bonds, the UAE’s vice president said on Sunday.
The Qatari benchmark, however, bucked the trend to shed 0.3% in its third successive fall.
The top decliners included Qatar Commercial Bank and Qatar Gas Transport Co, which fell 2.2% and 2.3%, respectively.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index edged down 0.1%, dragged mainly by tobacco firm Eastern Co, which retreated 2.8%.
(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +91 (0)8061822683;))