Mideast Stocks: Most Gulf bourses gain; Abu Dhabi extends losses

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Most stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Monday, with crude prices holding on to recent gains as supply disruptions in Kazakhstan and Libya offset worries stemming from the rapid global rise in Omicron infections. Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index advanced 0.9%, boosted by a 1.5% rise in Al Rajhi Bank and a 4.6% jump in Saudi British Bank . Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets, eased but held on to recent gains, having climbed 5% last week. However, Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance Company slid 6.4% after its shareholders rejected an offer to merge the company with Amana Cooperative Insurance Company . Shares of Amana fell 6.1%. Dubai’s main share index added 0.3%, supported by a 14.3% surge in Amlak Finance . The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates said it expects the UAE economy to grow 4.2% in 2022, accelerating from last year’s 2.1% growth. The Qatari index ended 0.4% higher, with petrochemical maker Industries Qatar gaining 0.6%. The Gulf markets have seen their main indices going up mostly thanks to strong oil prices, said Wael Makarem, senior market strategist at Exness. “However, they remain exposed to some pressures deriving from the concerns around