Mideast Stocks: Most major Gulf bourses track energy prices higher

The Gulf region’s most major stock markets closed higher on Wednesday as investors’ risk appetite increased on rising oil prices. Benchmark Brent oil climbed above $100 a barrel after Saudi Arabia suggested this week that OPEC could consider cutting output in response to poor liquidity in the crude futures market and fears about a global economic downturn.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index added 0.2% with Saudi Aramco trading 2% higher. The kingdom’s energy index gained 1.8% on Wednesday. 

Abu Dhabi index edged 0.2% lower, falling for an eighth session in nine as investors continued to book profits after the index hit an all-time high earlier this month. Shares of International Holding Co, the most valuable company on the Abu Dhabi bourse with a market capitalisation of around $170 billion, dropped 0.4%. The conglomerate has risen about 125% so far this year after it made 70 acquisitions at a total value of 10 billion dirhams ($2.72 billion) this year.

Dubai’s main share index advanced 0.9% after its blue-chip stock Emaar Properties jumped 3.3% to its biggest intraday gain in over a month. The developer said on Tuesday its deal to sell Namshi will result in net profit of 628.7 million dirhams. The company earlier said it was selling fashion e-commerce venture Namshi to Noon, an e-commerce company backed by Dubai billionaire Mohamed Alabbar and Saudi Arabian sovereign fund the Public Investment Fund.

The Qatari index rebounded 0.4%, snapping a three-day losing streak with petrochemical firms Industries Qatar and Mesaieed Petrochemical climbing 1.4% and 1.7%, respectively, on the back of rising gas prices. The Qatari market returned to the positive side thanks to the higher natural gas prices, said Farah Mourad, senior market analyst of XTB MENA.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index closed 0.3% lower extending losses for a second session. The index, which is down more than 15% so far this year, has come under pressure because of a sharp slide in foreign portfolio investor holdings and rising costs of key commodity imports, especially since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

(Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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