Dubai: Saudi Arabian stocks closed higher on Wednesday with nearly all banking stocks advancing taking their cue from the $1.9 trillion US stimulus signing into law and as prospects brightened for sooner reopening of economic activities around the world.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index notched up 0.8 per cent to 9,665 points. Riyad Bank, Alinma Bank, Samba Financial Group and Albilad all moved upward with Saudi British Bank shooting up 2.2 per cent after announcing the completion of Alawaal Bank merger and its full integration.
Abdullah Al Othaim Markets rose 2.2 per cent after its board of directors recommended SR3 per share as half-year dividends. It had earlier reported a 16.3 per cent jump in fourth-quarter profits. Saudi Company for Hardware also ended the day higher by 1 per cent as its full-year profit soared 39 per cent and its board decided to hand out SR0.75 riyal per share dividend to shareholders.
Astra Industrial Group edged up1.4 per cent after its full-year profit almost quadrupled on the back of increased sales and gross profit in pharmaceutical and specialty chemical segments whereas financial charges and other expenses went down.
Dubai Financial Market traded 1 per cent up in what was its third consecutive rise. Banking and property stocks were the ones mainly driving the index higher after the Dubai government's 2040 urban development plan rejoiced the investors. The mega development move is expected to revive the lackluster property sector in the emirate to its previous glory.
Blue-chip lender Dubai Islamic Bank, Amlak Finance and Ajman Bank all rose with heavyweight real estate stocks such as Emaar Properties and Emaar Development also joining the rally.
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange followed the Dubai lead into a third straight rise ending the session up 0.8 per cent. Banks acted as the biggest boost with the UAE's largest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank, leading the gains. Aldar Properties gained 2.2 per cent on plans to acquire a majority stake in Egyptian real estate company, Sixth of October Development and Investment (SODIC).
Biggest leap in a year
Oman's 30-company index ticked up 0.7 per cent to trade at 3,726 points. Its heavyweight telco Omantel surged 4.4 per cent to its biggest single-day rise in nearly a year after its board of directors recommended 55 baizas per share dividend to shareholders despite earlier posting lower full-year profits.
Qatari stocks moved up 0.2 per cent with industrial, energy and material stocks pushing the index higher while financial and utility shares pulling it lower. Kuwait premier index also moved 0.3 per cent higher led by gains in the banking shares.