Major Gulf stocks ends higher Monday, Qatar outperforms

Most major stock markets in the Middle East ended higher on Monday as optimism over easing coronavirus restrictions boosted risk appetite.

In Dubai, the index gained 1.5%, with its largest lender Emirates NBD adding 2.8% and Emaar Properties increasing 1.6%.

Last week, Dubai lifted restrictions on movement and allowed business activity to restart.

The UAE, which had suspended entry of non-Emirati residents on March 19, said last month it would soon start allowing in those with valid residencies stranded abroad whose families are in the UAE.

The state news agency had said residents with relatives in the UAE could start returning as of June 1 to reunite with family.

Qatar’s index climbed 2%, boosted by a 10% surge in telecoms firm Ooredoo.

Ooredoo said that its unit will pay its global medium term note holders’ interest payment on June 22.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index rose 1.1%. Petrochemical firm Saudi Basic Industries advanced 2.6% and largest lender National Commercial Bank firmed 2.1%.

Restrictions in the kingdom will be eased in three phases, culminating in the complete lifting of a curfew – apart from in the holy city of Mecca – from June 21, the state news agency reported on Tuesday.

The Abu Dhabi index was up 0.7%, helped by a 1.2% gain in telecoms firm Etisalat and a 3.4% leap in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.