Mideast Stocks: Saudi stocks gain as oil soars; Qatar dips on weak earnings


Saudi shares rose on Monday, on course to extend gains for an eighth consecutive session amid rising crude prices, while a string of disappointing corporate earnings weighed on Qatar.

Brent crude was up $1.02, or 1.6%, at $63.45 a barrel at 0806 GMT, as fears of heightened tensions in the Middle East prompted fresh buying, while hopes that U.S. stimulus and an easing of lockdowns will buoy fuel demand provided support. 

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index advanced 0.9%, with Al Rajhi Bank rising 3.6% and National commercial Bank climbing 2%.

The kingdom has extended by 20 days restrictions on entertainment activities, gatherings, and dine-in restaurant services to curb the spread of coronavirus, state news agency SPA said on Sunday, citing an interior ministry statement.  

Two weeks ago Saudi Arabia suspended entry to the kingdom from 20 countries, with the exception of Saudi citizens, diplomats and medical practitioners and their families. Dubai’s main share index gained 0.6%, led by a 1.9% rise in Emaar Properties, despite the blue-chip developer’s 2020 profit plunging. 

Emaar posted a net profit of 2.62 billion dirhams ($713.35 million) in 2020, down from 6.2 billion a year earlier.

However, Emaar’s founder Mohamed Alabbar was more optimistic about 2021, saying there were opportunities both traditional and technological that didn’t exist five or 10 years ago.

In Abu Dhabi, the index eased 0.1%, hit by a 1.1% fall in Aldar Properties and a 0.1% dip in the country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank.

The Qatari index lost 0.3%, dragged down by a 5.8% slide in telecom giant Ooredoo after it reported a loss of 342 million riyals ($93.96 million) in the fourth-quarter, compared to a profit of 460 million riyals a year earlier. 

Elsewhere, Qatar Insurance fell 3% following a decline in 2020 profit. 

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

($1 = 3.6400 Qatar riyals)

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