Dubai: Saudi Arabian stocks outperformed on Sunday with advances led by its banking and petrochemical shares after OPEC+ paved the way for easing of oil production curbs. Other GCC markets struggled for direction with investors awaiting the next big clue.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index traded 0.7 per cent higher at 9,963 points with petrochemical and banking stocks leading the advances. Saudi-led OPEC+ decided in their Thursday meeting to gradually ease oil output curbs in coming months, a move that could add to the kingdom’s revenues if oil prices do not slide considerably. Lenders and energy companies will be the biggest beneficiary as they rely heavily on oil money.
Sabic, Saudi Aramco and Advanced Petrochemical all made upward movements with Riyad Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi and Al Jazira Bank joining the rally. However, the biggest boost came from Saudi National Bank which jumped 3.6 per cent adding to its gains after it completed merger with Samba Financial Group and is now solely trading as a merged entity.
Flying on merger
The lender, which has named Ammar Abdul Wahed al-Khudairy as its new chairman on Sunday, is trading up more than 30 per cent year-to-date as investors appeared to cheer the merger with $239 billion in combined assets. The consolidation of the two banks comes at a time when volatile oil prices and weak economic growth are pushing lenders merger in the region.
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange edged up 0.2 per cent at 5,953 points in what was its sixth consecutive gain. Gulf Cement, Arkan Building Materials and International Holding were among the biggest gainers, while Abu Dhabi Aviation scaled up 3 per cent after it made public its plan to acquire Falcon Aviation Services. The index gains were limited by First Abu Dhabi Bank, which slipped 0.3 per cent, and Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries that plunged 6 per cent after surging in the past sessions on a deal to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine.
Slide from peak
Dubai Financial Market pulled back 0.3 per cent to trade at 2,550 points with Emirates Refresh shedding 10 per cent, the maximum limit permitted for a stock to go down. This was the sock’s sixth slide in a row that marked the continuation of its bearish run in recent weeks after it posted massive gains earlier in the year on the back of new business expansion plans. The stock is still up around 78 per cent this year.
Property shares also headed lower with Emaar Properties and Emaar Development trading down, while telco du slipped 3 per cent after going ex-dividend in the last trading session. The drop in the Dubai index followed one of its best performances last week and marked a pause as it looked tempting for investors to cash in on their positions.
Banks calling the shots
Banking stocks pushed Qatar Exchange down while they moved sideways in Oman where the 30-company index traded marginally lower. Kuwait premier index and Bahrain shares closed the day higher by 0.2 per cent each, propelled by their financial shares.