Gulf bourses end mixed, Saudi Aramco hits record high

Gulf bourses end mixed, Saudi Aramco hits record high

The logo of Dubai’s Emaar Properties is seen on a building in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 12, 2018. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Feb 21 (Reuters) – Stock markets in the Gulf ended mixed on Monday, as oil prices rose on fresh diplomatic efforts to resolve the Ukraine crisis but banking shares drew profit taking.

France has raised the possibility of a summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin to discuss the Ukraine crisis. However, a summit would be held only if Russia did not first invade Ukraine, which Western countries have said it could do at any moment despite repeated denials.

The Kremlin said there were no concrete plans in place for a summit, but that a call or meeting could be set up at any time.

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Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index (.TASI) gained 0.8%, with oil behemoth Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) rising 4.1% to a record closing high of 39.3 riyals.

Aramco is seeing signs of more demand around the world, especially in Asia, CEO Amin Nasser said on Monday. read more

His comments come at a time when demand is outpacing supply and could remain so for a while, according to Wael Makarem, senior market strategist at Exness.

“The demand is supported by the strong economic recovery around the world and the retreating threat of the COVID-19 virus, which could help remove any remaining sanitary restrictions on the economy.”

Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) fell 2.1%, a day after it jumped 5.9% following the lender announcing its board’s proposal to increase capital.

In Abu Dhabi, the index (.FTFGI) dropped 1.2%, weighed down by a 2.4% decline in First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) (FAB.), the country’s largest lender.

Egypt’s largest investment bank, EFG Hermes (HRHO.CA), appointed Goldman Sachs (GS.N) to advise on FAB’s offer to acquire a majority stake, it said on Monday. read more

FAB this month made a non-binding offer to buy at least 51% of EFG Hermes for 19 Egyptian pounds ($1.21) per share, which valued the investment bank at nearly $1.2 billion. read more

Dubai’s main share index (.DFMGI) slipped 0.5%, hit by a 1.8% drop in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU).

The Qatari index (.QSI) finished flat as gains in financial shares were offset by declines in energy stocks.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index (.EGX30) advanced 1.1%, with top lender Commercial International Bank (COMI.CA) rising 1.6%.

Investors moved to buy after the previous day’s dip, with risk-on sentiment reviving globally on some positive headlines from Europe, said Ghadi Wakim, key account manager at Exness.

($1 = 15.6600 Egyptian pounds)

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Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Desk Team

Desk Team