Oct 17 – Major stock markets in the Gulf rose in early trade on Tuesday as Asian shares rebounded and oil prices steadied, although investors remain wary on tensions in the region.
US President Joe Biden will visit Israel on Wednesday as the country prepares to escalate an offensive against Hamas militants that has set off a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and raised fears of a broader conflict with Iran.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index gained 1.1%, with Al Rajhi Bank advancing 2.3% and oil giant Saudi Aramco adding 0.3%.
Oil prices – a catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets – steadied after a more than $1 slide on Monday amid hopes the US would ease sanctions on producer Venezuela, and as Washington stepped up efforts to prevent an escalation of the war between Israel and Hamas.
Among other gainers, Savola Group, the kingdom’s largest food products company, jumped 5.8% after it hired Moelis & Co MC.N to advise on strategic options for its business.
That could potentially include a sale of a portion of its stake in the Middle East’s biggest dairy firm Almarai Company. Almarai shares were flat.
Separately, Saudi Arabia’s USD 778 billion sovereign wealth fund has mandated banks to arrange a bond sale, a document showed, the first high-profile debt issue from the region since last week’s Israel-Hamas conflict unsettled regional markets.
Dubai’s main share index rose 0.2%, on course to snap three sessions of losses, helped by a 1.3% rise in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.
In Abu Dhabi, the index climbed 0.9%. The Qatari benchmark was also up 0.1%, led by a 0.5% rise in petrochemical maker Industries Qatar.
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey)