Saudi and other GCC stock markets traded higher on Sunday as investors reacted to a more than four per cent leap in crude prices over the weekend. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Saudi and other GCC stock markets traded higher on Sunday as investors reacted to a more than four per cent leap in crude prices over the weekend.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index advanced 0.7 per cent to trade at 9,483 points. Its leading banking and petrochemical stocks outperformed with Sabic, Maaden, Al Rajhi Bank and National Commercial Bank all rising.

Special dividend

Saudi Telecom picked up 2.3 per cent after the board proposed an additional dividend of a riyal per share for the last year, which comes on the back of higher profits and sales. The special dividend has been recommended on top of a riyal per share that the telco distributed for every 2020 quarter.

Watani Iron Steel edged up 1.5 per cent after its full-year profits recoded a near 6 per cent improvement despite the coronavirus challenges. The firm attributed the higher net income on increased profit margins which made up for the reduced sales volume as demand took a hit from the global pandemic and resulting lockdowns.

Dividend factor

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange closed the day higher by 0.5 per cent to trade at 5,757 points with gains coming from ADNOC Distribution which rose back from a selloff in the last session when it traded without dividend entitlements. Waha Capital traded higher by 1.7 per cent after the shareholders approved Dh0.06 per share dividends for 2020 versus no dividend handouts a year before.

Dubai Financial Market ticked up 0.2 per cent at 2,500 points, pushed higher by blue-chip banking and real estate stocks with top lender, Emirates NBD, and Damac Properties eking out 0.9 and 2.7 per cent, respectively. Dar Al Takaful advanced after its board of directors proposed full-year dividends, while the courier firm Aramex joined the rally after appointing a new chief financial officer.

Oman's 30-company index traded 0.6 per cent higher at 3,701 points, rising from two straight days of trading in the red. Banking stocks were key contributors with Bank Dhofar, Ahli Bank, Sohar International Bank and HSBC Oman Bank advancing. Its top lender Bank Muscat gained 2.7 per cent after seeing two back-to-back selloffs as the stock traded ex-dividend.

Gaining ahead of ex-dividend

Bahrain shares edged up 0.6 per cent. Telco Batelco and APM Terminals Bahrain moved upward by 0.7 and 1.3 per cent, respectively, before going ex-dividend on Monday. Sunday is the last day for investors to buy the stocks to become entitled to latest dividend payouts.

Result woes

However, Kuwait bucked the trend and declined 0.2 per cent, pulled lower by some disappointing corporate earnings. Real Estate Trade Centers plunged 7.7 per cent after drifting into fourth-quarter losses compared with profits for the corresponding period las year, prompting its board of directors to recommend no dividend payouts. Energy House Holding dropped 4.4 per cent as its board decided against any dividend handouts after the firm reported full-year losses.