Saudi Arabia's benchmark index finally broke the slide and closed Thursday in positive territory, with investors clambering back in to pick up stocks that suddenly looked more affordable. But stocks elsewhere in the Gulf dropped as governments re-introduced social and business restrictions.

The Saudi market rose 0.9 per cent to 8,618 points after four consecutive days of losses in what was only its fourth daily gain since January 14. It had been on the backfoot as the kingdom lagged behind other Gulf countries in mass inoculation and had to extend activity curbs after running short of enough vaccines. d.

Banking stocks led the gains with Al Rajhi advancing 3.5 per cent to SR74.2 and National Commercial Bank 1.7 per cent to SR43.

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Capital gains

Saudi Ceramic jumped 5.3 per cent after its board of directors recommended a 33.3 per cent increase in capital by granting one bonus share for every three in a move to make the capital match the size of its business and assets and to support future expansion.

The Dubai Financial Market dipped 1.5 per cent to 2,671 points. Air Arabia slumped 4.7 per cent to Dh1.2 as the aviation sector lose out on momentum from fresh travel curbs. The stock dropped for a second straight day to close out the week down nearly 4 per cent after shedding 6.6 per cent the week before.


Dubai Investments' stock dropped 4.9 per cent to Dh1.6 after its full-year profit nearly halved and revenues shrank 8 per cent. Though the stock ended the back-to-back weeks lower, it still is trading 7.6 per cent up for the year benefitting from the market-wide rally.

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange slipped 0.2 per cent to 5,664 points. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank traded 1.7 per cent lower to trade at Dh6.6, thereby snapping a four-day winning streak that followed its 2020 result announcement that topped market expectations. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank retreated for a second straight day, dropping 2 per cent to Dh4.9.

Kuwait's premier index slipped 0.1 per cent to 6,219 after it announced a plan to ban foreigners from entering the country, ordered gyms and salons closed, and reduced the opening times for other businesses. Qurain Petrochemical Industries shed 1.1 per cent to 350 Kuwaiti fils closing out the week down by 3.6 per cent after announcing a 78 per cent plunge in third-quarter results.

The index got some support from Kuwait Financial House, which gained 0.4 per cent to trade at 719 Kuwaiti fils ahead of its full-year result announcement. After the market closed, it reported a 41 per cent drop in net profit and decided to cut down cash dividends by half, distributing 10 fils per share, down from 20 fils per share for 2019.

Qatar Exchange shed 0.4 per cent to 10,431 points under pressure from industrial and financial stocks with Industries Qatar edging back 1.5 per cent to QR11.8, and Qatar Commercial Bank slipping 1.2 per cent to close at QR4.3.