Saudi Arabian stocks rise as Gulf markets reopen after Eid break

Saudi Arabian stocks had their biggest gain in two weeks as trading resumed in most Gulf Arab equity markets and investors prepared for release of financial results in the kingdom.

The Tadawul All Share Index led the advance among gauges in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, adding 0.7 per cent at early Sunday in Riyadh. Oman’s benchmark rose 0.1 per cent, while Kuwait’s dropped 0.3 per cent. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index erased earlier gains as National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank declined after announcing plans to merge last week.

“We can expect focus to shift to second-quarter results from here, which start with Saudi Arabia this week, said Saleem Khokhar, the head of fund management and equities at the asset management group of NBAD, the United Arab Emirates’ second-biggest bank by assets. “We expect real estate to do well, petrochemicals to be okay but bank earnings to be soft.”

Gains in Gulf stocks followed advances in emerging markets at the end of last week on speculation the US will hold off from raising interest rates even after jobs data were stronger than forecast. While futures traders boosted wagers for rate increases at Federal Reserve meetings, those wagers were still well below levels predicted at the start of June as investors weigh the impact of Britain’s vote last month to leave the European Union on the global economy.

In Gulf markets, trading volumes picked up as investors returned following the holy month of Ramadan, when activity typically slows. Dubai’s DFM General Index traded higher as about 141 million shares changed hands, 68 per cent above the intraday average of the past 20 days. Markets across the region were closed for part or all of last week to mark the end of the religious period.

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