DUBAI: Most major stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Monday as financial shares rose, while the Qatari index was hit by profit-taking.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index added 0.7%, with Al Rajhi Bank rising 1.9%.
The kingdom plans to reopen to foreign tourists soon, a senior tourism official said on Monday. It recently announced the lifting of quarantine restrictions for certain foreign arrivals.
Saudi Arabia liberalised its tourism industry in 2019, making it easier for foreigners to apply for tourist visas to the kingdom, which has been relatively closed off for decades.
In Dubai, the main share index gained 0.3%, helped by a 2% rise in its top lender Emirates NBD.
Last week, investment bank J.P. Morgan Cazenove raised its target price for the bank’s shares to 14.15 dirhams with an upgrade to overweight.
Dubai’s ruler has dissolved a special tribunal formed after the global financial crisis over a decade ago to settle disputes related to real estate lenders Amlak Finance and Tamweel.
Amlak Finance dropped 2.4%.
The Abu Dhabi benchmark rose 0.8%, with the country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank rising 1.2%.
On Sunday, the bank surged over 10% on expectations that an upcoming review by MSCI of its emerging markets index will increase the bank’s index weighting and spur foreign fund flows into its shares.
Elsewhere, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank jumped more than 4%, as the lender partnered with FIS, a technology solutions provider, to modernize its digital payment services and to provide instant payments to its customers.
The Qatari index, which traded after a three-session break, finished 1.2% lower as most of the stocks on the index were in negative territory.
Petrochemical maker Industries Qatar slid 4.1%, to become the top loser on the index. Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index dropped 0.9%, hit by a 3.8% fall in Commercial International Bank.