Rising oil price boosts Saudi, top telecom firm weighs on Abu Dhabi


By Shakeel Ahmad

March 13 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market rose on Wednesday as banks and petrochemical shares gained amid rising oil prices, while Abu Dhabi was pulled down by Emirates Telecommunications.

Saudi Arabia's index was up 1 percent, with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 0.9 percent.

The deal, which will be completed during the second half of the year, is part of the firm's plan to increase efficiency in its global operations.

The Saudi index is up 8.9 percent this year, outperforming major Gulf markets and led by foreign investors who have been net buyers of Saudi stocks every week this year. Foreign investors have already poured 6.94 billion riyals ($1.9 billion) into the Saudi market in the first two months of 2019.

Foreign net buying in the Saudi market picked up in the first week of March, coming in at 985 million riyals, the highest since the week ending Jan. 17, Arqaam Capital said.

Developer Arriyadh Development added 1.5 percent after the Capital Market Authority approved an increase in capital to 1.78 billion riyals, from 1.33 billion riyals, through a bonus share issue.

The Abu Dhabi index was down 0.9 percent, with Emirates Telecommunications Group shedding 4.1 percent.

United Arab Bank plunged 9.6 percent in light trade while Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank lost 2.4 percent.

Banks in the UAE are expected to experience a rise in loan losses over the next 12 to 18 months as a decline in real estate prices and rising interest rates reduce borrowers' cashflows, according to Moody's.

In Dubai, the index was flat, but courier firm Aramex surged 9.1 percent in its heaviest trading volume since December 2009 with 42.4 million shares changing hands, after the company said that Australia Post Transaction Services had sold its stake.

Australia Post Transaction Services sold its 10 percent stake in the firm for 602.6 million dirhams ($164 million). Aramex caps foreign ownership of its shares at 49 percent and the stake sale has freed up a 10 percent stake for foreigners to potentially buy.

Arqaam Capital said this was "an excellent time" to buy the stock.

Egypt's blue chip index edged down 0.1 percent with El Sewedy Electric shedding 1.8 percent.

Qatar's index was flat with Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding losing 3.2 percent.

($1 = 3.7502 riyals)

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)


The index rose 1 pct to 8,527 points


The index fell 0.9 pct to 4,820 points


The index was flat at 2,600 points


The index was flat at 9,762 points


The index fell 0.1 pct to 15,126 points


The index was flat at 5,600 points


The index fell 0.2 pct to 4,074 points


The index rose 0.4 percent to 1,411 points

This article appears in: Politics , Stocks , World Markets

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