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Most major Gulf markets gain; Saudi index dips

  • Saudi Arabia's crown prince said oil firm Aramco and petrochemical firm SABIC would lead 5 trillion riyals ($1.33 trillion) of investments by the local private sector by 2030 under a programme announced on Tuesday for economic diversification.
  • The kingdom's benchmark index eased 0.1%, hit by a 1.5% fall in oil giant Saudi Aramco and 2% slide in Saudi Basic Industries Corp.
Published April 1, 2021
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Most major stock markets ended higher on Thursday, while the Saudi index eased a day after it registered sharp gains triggered after the kingdom announced a private investment push.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince said oil firm Aramco and petrochemical firm SABIC would lead 5 trillion riyals ($1.33 trillion) of investments by the local private sector by 2030 under a programme announced on Tuesday for economic diversification.

The kingdom's benchmark index eased 0.1%, hit by a 1.5% fall in oil giant Saudi Aramco and 2% slide in Saudi Basic Industries Corp.

However, National Commercial Bank (NCB), the country's largest lender, jumped 3.6%, despite the stock going ex-dividend.

On Thursday, NCB and Samba Financial Group announced the formal completion of their merger.

Dubai's main share index added 0.3%, with Emaar Properties rising 0.9%.

Elsewhere, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications finished 1.3% higher, despite the stock going ex-dividend.

In Abu Dhabi, the index gained 0.4%, led by a 1.9% increase in telecoms firm Etisalat and 1.6% rise in International Holding.

International Holding has gone through rapid expansion across its major business sectors, resulting in a sharp growth in its financials, positioning it for long-term growth.

So far this year, International Holding has risen over 50%.

In Qatar, the benchmark closed 0.5% higher, with petrochemical maker Industries Qatar advancing 2.1%.

Qatar's cabinet on Wednesday ordered a halt to non-urgent medical services at private health facilities as of April 2 as coronavirus cases rise in the Gulf Arab state, state news agency QNA said.

Qatar last week tightened restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, including closing leisure centres and further reducing operating capacity at shopping malls and cinemas.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index traded flat.

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