Gulf stock markets inched up modestly on firm oil prices, global bourses

Gulf stock markets went up moderately in early trade Wednesday, encouraged by an overnight jump in oil prices and strength in Asian bourses after strong Chinese trade data. Banks led Saudi Arabia up on positive first-quarter earnings.

The Saudi index climbed 0.5 percent as National Commercial Bank, the biggest lender, rose 2.0 percent. It posted a 1 percent rise in profit to 2.63 billion riyals ($701.5 million). SICO Bahrain had forecast 2.30 billion riyals and Deutsche Bank, 2.23 billion riyals.

Saudi British Bank added 2.3 percent after posting a 2.4 percent rise in profit to 1.14 billion riyals; three analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected an average of 1.01 billion riyals.

But Bank Aljazira fell 1.1 percent after reporting a 68 percent year-on-year rise in quarterly profit; it had been gaining in previous weeks in anticipation of strong earnings.

Dubai’s index added 0.2 percent as heavyweight Emaar Properties gained 1.6 percent.

But Union Properties, the most heavily traded stock, fell 1.1 percent after saying its board had approved increasing its capital to 7 billion dirhams ($1.9 billion); it did not say how capital would be boosted.

Abu Dhabi rose 0.6 percent because of First Gulf Bank , which jumped 2.1 percent.

Qatar edged up 0.1 percent. Qatari Investors Group surged 3.0 percent after reporting that first-quarter profit expanded 19 percent.

Source: Reuters