MIDEAST STOCKS Major Gulf stocks little changed in early trade, Saudi shares inch up


Major Gulf stock markets were little changed in early trade on Wednesday, with Saudi Arabian shares rising slightly as International Energy Agency (IEA)forecast a positive oil demand.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index was up 0.1%. Al Rajhi Bank and Saudi Basic Industries both gained 0.3%.

Oil giant Saudi Aramco was also up 0.3% after the IEA said vaccine roll-outs are set to power a rebound in oil demand.

“Already signs are emerging of COVID cases abating with demand now expected to rebound by a sharp 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) in October, and continuing to grow until end-year,” the IEA wrote in its monthly oil report.

The Dubai index was down 0.1% on track for its fourth consecutive day of decline. Emirates NBD Bank eased 0.4% and Emaar Properties lost 0.2%.

Abu Dhabi’s index was flat as gains in industrial stocks were capped by losses in financial and telecom sectors.

Alpha Dhabi Holding rose 1.5%, while First Abu Dhabi Bank and Emirates Telecommunications Group were down 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively.

Elsewhere, the food and beverage company Agthia Group gained 2% after saying it completed acquisition of a 75.02% stake in Egyptian processed meat producer Ismaila Investments.

The United Arab Emirates will pursue an aggressive timetable to negotiate economic agreements with eight countries it wants to deepen trade ties with, hoping it can wrap up some of those talks within a year, its trade minister said on Tuesday, though he did not identify any country.

The index in Qatar was flat too, with Commercial Bank gaining 0.8% and Qatar Fuel shedding 0.6%.


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