Saudi stocks rise, lifted by banking shares

Saudi Arabia’s stock market rose in early trading on Monday helped by banking shares and increasing oil prices, while most major Gulf stocks advanced mirroring gains in global equities.

Asian stocks, riding a Wall Street rally, were cheered by China’s central bank decision to alter the way it sets a key interest rate benchmark, a move seen by analysts as reducing borrowing costs for companies.

Crude oil prices rose following a weekend attack on a Saudi oil facility by Yemeni separatists and as traders looked for any signs that Sino-U.S. trade tensions could ease.

Saudi Arabia’s index advanced 1 percent with most of its banking stocks trading positively. National Commercial Bank rose 2.1 percent and Al Rajhi Bank was up 0.9 percent.

Elsewhere, Zain Saudi gained 1.3 percent after the telecom operator said it had commenced negotiation with Ministry of Finance to convert outstanding debts into shares.

Dubai’s index traded 0.3 percent higher with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and Dubai Islamic Bank both gaining 0.6 percent.

Shuaa Capital, which merged with Abu Dhabi Financial Group earlier this month, rose 0.8 percent. The investment firm announced the transfer of new issued shares as part of the merger deal.

Qatar’s index rose 0.2 percent extending gains in the previous session when it ended a three-day losing streak. Qatar National Bank, the Gulf’s largest lender, boosted the index most, trading 1.5 percent higher.

Abu Dhabi’s index slipped 0.1 percent as First Abu Dhabi Bank declined 0.3 percent and Emirates Telecommunications Group lost 0.4 percent.

Source: Reuters