Dubai: Amid low volumes, Saudi index gained more than a per cent on Sunday, leading gains in the region, as strong crude spurred buying in petrochemical stocks.

Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul index closed 1.15 per cent higher at 6.091.09, after hitting a high of 6,098.99. Shares worth 2.45 billion Saudi riyals were traded compared to an average of 5 billion Saudi riyals.

“It’s a natural rebound as the Saudi market was trading at competitive valuations compared to its historical norms, but the question is whether it is sustainable,” Tareq Qaqish, head of asset management at Al Mal Capital told Gulf News. The Tadawul index, which has been an laggard in terms of performance, has shed more than 11 per cent since the start of the year, compared to 12 per cent gains on Dubai index.

In stock specific action, Saudi Basic Industries closed 0.19 per cent higher at 82.25 riyals, while Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co closed 1.61 per cent higher at 6.6 riyals. Samba Financial Group closed 4.77 per cent higher at 19.10 riyals. Alinma Bank closed 1.61 per cent higher at 12.60 riyals

“Banks in general look attractive in Saudi Arabia, but investors need to look at earnings in general,” Qaqish said. Shares of 156 firms rose while nine others fell.

Late buying

Elsewhere in the Gulf, Dubai Financial Market General index closed 0.67 per cent higher at 3,535.36. Gulf Finance House was the most active stock in trade. The stock closed 4.55 per cent higher at Dh1.010.

Amanat, which neared its earlier peak hit on March 14, witnessed late buying. Emaar Properties also witnessed traders on the buying side. Amanat closed more than 3 per cent higher at Dh0.908, after hitting a high of Dh0.91, a level last seen on March 14. Emaar Properties closed 1.41 per cent higher at Dh7.20.

“Investors are more comfortable to put in money in the UAE stocks compared to regional markets,” said Qaqish, adding the ongoing initiatives that the governments are bringing in to boost the private sector,” Qaqish said.

“The market would remain attractive at current levels. Some of the blue chip are trading below the book value, which won’t stay for long,” Qaqish said.

Out of a total of 36 stocks trading on the exchange, shares of 26 firms rose, while another 11 fell. The rest remained steady. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange closed 0.19 per cent lower at 4,472.20.

Eshraq Properties closed more than a per cent lower at Dh0.79, while Ras Al Khaimah Ceramic Co closed 4.22 per cent lower at Dh2.95. Out of a total of 33 stocks traded on the exchange, shares of 10 firms fell, while other 15 fell. In the futures market on Nasdaq Dubai, the index closed at 3,273.64, up 3.220, or 0.10 per cent from the previous close. Shares worth $205,000 were traded.

Factbox: Rest of the Gulf

Qatar exchange index closed 0.13 per cent higher at 10,850, while Muscat Securities MSM 30 index closed 0.24 per cent higher at 5,727.79. Kuwai stock exchange index closed 0.25 per cent lower at 5,395.49. Bahrain index closed 0.20 per cent lower at 1,141.05. In the wider Middle East, Egyptian EGX 30 price return index closed 1.29 per cent higher at 8,241.16.