Saudi markets rise led by financial shares

Saudi Arabia’s stock market opened higher on Sunday, led by gains in financial and petrochemical shares while Emirates NBD pushed Dubai bourse lower.

The Saudi index was up 0.3 percent in early trade. Al Rajhi Bank and the Gulf’s largest petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries both rose 0.5 percent.

Saudi Arabia has named Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, a son of the king, as energy minister, replacing Khalid al-Falih, in a reshuffle that a Saudi official said would cause no shift in Saudi Arabia’s OPEC policy and the top oil exporter will continue with the OPEC-led output cut agreement.

Dubai’s index was down 0.7 percent as the emirate’s biggest lender Emirates NBD dropped 2.9 percent to end its four-day winning streak.

The bank has risen in recent sessions after it raised its foreign ownership limit to 20 percent from 5 percent and announced its intention to further hike the limit to 40 percent in the future.

Dubai’s developers also weighed the index as Emaar Properties shed 0.4 percent and DAMAC Properties fell 1.5 percent.

Dubai house prices are expected to decline sharply this year and next as a slowdown in the economy and an oversupply of housing units pose big downside risks to their already weak outlook, a Reuters poll found.

Dubai’s property prices have contracted by 25-35 percent since a mid-2014 peak.

In Abu Dhabi, the index inched down 0.1 percent with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank losing 1.3 percent and Emirates Telecom down 0.4 percent.

However, Al Dar properties gained 1.4 percent after launching a residential project that it said will be open to all nationalities.

This is the first land plot development since the introduction of new laws enabling foreign buyers to own freehold land in investment zones in Abu Dhabi.

In April, Abu Dhabi amended its real estate law allowing all foreigners to own land and property in investment areas on a freehold basis.

Qatar’s index was up 0.3 percent with Qatar Fuel rising 1.1 percent and Masraf Al Rayan gaining 0.6 percent.

Source: Reuters