Most Gulf bourses fall in early trade; Saudi gains

A general view shows the Dubai Financial Market after Joe Biden wins U.S. presidency, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates November 8, 2020. REUTERS/Christopher Pike

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Jan 3 (Reuters) – Most major stock markets in the Gulf fell in early trade on Monday amid rising COVID-19 cases, as the Saudi index bucked the trend to trade higher in line with oil prices.

In Abu Dhabi, the index (.ADI) dropped 0.6%, with the country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD) losing 0.8% and telecoms firm Etisalat (ETISALAT.AD) retreating 0.9%.

Dubai’s main share index (.DFMGI) fell 0.4%, hit by a 6.3% fall in Dubai Financial Market (DFM.DU).

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The United Arab Emirates, a tourism and commercial hub now marking its peak tourism season and hosting a world fair, on Sunday recorded 2,600 new coronavirus cases and three deaths. It said on Saturday it would ban non-vaccinated citizens from travelling abroad from Jan. 10. read more

The Qatari benchmark (.QSI) eased 0.1%, with sharia-compliant lender Masraf Al Rayan (MARK.QA) losing 0.4%.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index (.TASI) gained 0.5%, supported by a 0.8% rise in Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) and a 1.5% increase in Saudi National Bank (1180.SE).

The kingdom’s central bank has extended a deferred payment programme meant to help support the private sector by an additional three months until March 31, it said on Thursday. read more

Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets, firmed as the market kicked off 2022 on a positive note with suppliers in focus ahead of Tuesday’s OPEC+ meeting.

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Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; editing by John Stonestreet

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