Major Gulf stocks up, Saudi’s NCB leaps on strong FY earnings

Major Gulf stocks rose on Wednesday, largely on the back of gains in financial shares and a recovery in oil prices, while Saudi was cheered by a host of corporate announcements.

Oil prices climbed for a second day, recouping some losses after a five-day rout, on talk that OPEC could extend output cuts if China’s outbreak of coronavirus hurts demand.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index .TASI was up 0.5%, driven by a 3.1% increase in National Commercial Bank (NCB) 1180.SE.

The country’s largest lender reported a higher net profit of 11.4 billion riyals ($3.04 billion) in 2019, compared to 9.59 billion riyals year before.

Saudi Telecom 7010.SE advanced 0.9% following its preliminary agreement to buy Vodafone’s VOD.L 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt VODE.CA for $2.4 billion.

However, Saudi Basic Industries 2010.SE dropped 2.3% as the chemical firm swung into a 720 million riyal net loss in the fourth quarter from a profit of 3.22 billion riyals a year earlier.

The Abu Dhabi index .ADI opened up 0.4% as International Holding Company IHC.AD jumped 5.9% ahead of its board meeting on Wednesday to approve annual earnings.

First Abu Dhabi Bank FAB.AD rose 0.5%. On Tuesday, the lender posted a 5% increase in fourth-quarter profit.

In Qatar the index .QSI gained 0.3%, with Qatar National Bank QNBK.QA adding 0.5%, and Qatar International Islamic Bank QIIB.QA increasing 0.6% a day after it reported a higher full-year profit.

Dubai’s main share index .DFMGI edged up 0.1%, supported by a 0.7% gain in the country’s largest sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank DISB.DU.