MIDEAST STOCKS Banks buoy Saudi index; other major Gulf bourses dip

MIDEAST STOCKS Banks buoy Saudi index; other major Gulf bourses dip

An investor monitors a screen displaying stock information at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange June 25, 2014./File Photo

Saudi Arabia’s stock market outperformed the region on Wednesday, boosted by gains in financial shares, while other major Gulf markets ended lower.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Tuesday the kingdom had no plans to introduce income tax and a decision last July to triple value-added tax to 15% was temporary. read more

The country had tripled VAT to offset the impact of lower oil revenue on state finances in a move that had shocked citizens and businesses expecting more support from the government during the coronavirus pandemic.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index (.TASI) advanced 2.6%, buoyed by a 4.3% jump in Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) and a 6.5% increase in petrochemical firm Saudi Basic Industries (2010.SE).

Elsewhere, oil behemoth Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) gained 1.1%. In the televised remarks, the crown prince said the kingdom was in discussions to sell 1% of Aramco to a leading global energy company. read more

Dubai’s main share index (.DFMGI) lost 0.4%, weighed down by a 1.6% fall in Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU) and a 0.9% decrease in Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) (DISB.DU).

DIB, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest sharia-compliant lender, reported a net profit of 853 million dirhams ($232.25 million) in the first-quarter, down from 1.11 billion dirhams a year earlier.

However, Gulf Navigation (GNAV.DU) finished 1.3% higher, as the shipping firm completed a debt restructuring process of 200 million dirhams ($54.45 million) and expects a shift to profitability in 2021.

In Abu Dhabi, the index (.I) dropped 0.6%, hit by a 1.2% fall in the country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.).

The Qatari index (.QSI) eased 0.3%, with petrochemical maker Industries Qatar (IQCD.QA) losing 0.6%, ending four sessions of gains.

Among others, Ooredoo (ORDS.QA) was down 0.1%. The telecoms firm said on Wednesday it has extended the period of exclusivity for a memorandum of understanding with CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd (0001.HK) for a possible combination of their respective telecommunications businesses in Indonesia. read more

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index (.EGX30) retreated 1.1%, as most of the stocks on the index were in negative territory including Commercial International Bank (COMI.CA), which was down 4.1%.

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

($1 = 3.6400 Qatar riyals)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Desk Team

Desk Team