Middle East stock markets followed global shares higher Monday and Saudi Arabia’s stock index was bolstered by strong quarterly reports and dividend announcements.
For now, unease about an end to the era of ultra-cheap money has given way to optimism about global growth, with Friday’s stronger-than-expected U.S. non-farm payrolls report bolstering risk appetite. Data on Monday showed exports from Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, rose more than expected in May.
The pan-European STOXX 600 rallied 0.4 percent, with banks being one of the strongest sectors.
In Saudi Arabia, shares of United Electronics Company (Extra) surged by their 10 percent daily limit to 36.90 riyals, their highest close since January 2016. The company had earlier reported second-quarter net income of 43.4 million riyals ($11.57 million), up 287.5 percent from the prior year period.
In a separate statement, the board approved a cash dividend of 0.75 riyals per share for first half of 2017, the company’s first dividend distribution since 2015.
The positive mood spilled into other consumer-related shares, with Extra’s chief competitor Jarir gaining 2.0 percent.
Analysts have been expecting improvement in the retail sector in the second quarter from a year before because of the government’s decision to reinstate civil servants’ allowances and because of the Muslim month of Ramadan, which typically sees a rise in sales.
The Riyadh index added 1.0 percent as all 12 of the listed banks rose. Banque Saudi Fransi surged 8.7 percent in heavy trade after the board recommended a cash dividend of 1.05 riyals per share for the first half of this year, almost double the cash distributed in the prior year period.
Egypt’s blue-chip index added 1.1 percent, recovering from a small drop on Sunday. Shares of media conglomerate Orascom Telecom gained 3.0 percent after it reported first-quarter net income of 388.5 million Egyptian pounds ($21.74 million) versus 48.73 million pounds in the same period a year ago.
Shares of the largest listed lender Commercial International Bank rose 1.8 percent.
Qatar’s index climbed 1.0 percent, with four-fifths of the total market turnover coming from local investors, bourse data showed.
Twenty-six of the traded companies rose, including heavyweight Qatar National Bank, which added 1.9 percent, while 11 shares declined.
In Abu Dhabi, natural gas explorer Dana Gas fell 1.4 percent on profit taking.
Shares of the commodity company have been volatile since late June when Dana declared it would not make payments on $700 million of Islamic bonds maturing in October because Islamic finance standards had changed since the instruments were issued four years ago.
The index edged down 0.3 percent in relatively thin trade.
Dubai’s index rose 0.5 percent as shares of developer Union Properties climbed 1.7 percent. Twelve other shares rose while 11 declined.
* The index rebounded 1.0 percent to 7,237 points.
* The index added 0.5 percent to 3,418 points.
* The index fell 0.3 percent to 4,398 points.
* The index gained 1.0 percent to 8,995 points.
* The index rose 1.1 percent to 13,483 points.
* The index added 0.4 percent to 6,749 points.
* The index fell 0.1 percent to 1,308 points.
* The index rose 0.5 percent to 5,159 points.