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DUBAI: Major stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Sunday, largely driven by gains in financial companies and led by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.3%, with Al Rajhi Bank and petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp both gaining 0.7%.

Shares of financial and energy companies in the Gulf have both benefited from recent gains in oil prices.

Elsewhere, Saudi Arabian supermarket group BinDawood Holding finished 0.4% higher despite an almost 50% decline in second-quarter net profit and on expectations that the decline in profit will be temporary.

In the second quarter of last year the company "benefited enormously from pantry-buying in response to lockdowns and in the lead-up to the VAT (value-added tax) hike which came into effect from 1 July 2020," the company's CEO said in a statement.

Dubai's main share index reversed early losses to close 0.1% higher, supported by a 5.5% jump in Amanat Holding after the investment firm posted a net profit of 203.8 million dirhams ($55.49 million) compared to a loss of 5.2 million dirhams a year ago.

Among other gainers, DAMAC Properties rose 0.8% after narrowing second-quarter net losses.

However, the index's gains were limited by losses at National Central Cooling Co, which retreated 3.1%.

Last week, the firm reported second-quarter net profit of 135.1 million dirhams, down from 142.4 million dirhams a year ago.

In Abu Dhabi, the index edged up 0.1%, with the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank rising 0.4%.

Meanwhile, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which normalised relations a year ago, are looking to Dubai's Expo world fair in October to boost bilateral trade, which now stands at around $712 million.

The Qatari benchmark added 0.1%, with Commercial Bank rising 1.4%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index advanced 1.3%, led by a 3.1% leap in top lender Commercial International Bank.

Egypt received a new batch of about 1.7 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses through the global COVAX initiative, the health ministry said late on Friday.

Egypt has also received shipments of the Sputnik, Sinopharm, Sinovac and Johnson & Johnson shots. It also recently began locally producing Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccines.

SAUDI ARABIA rose 0.3% to 11,352

ABU DHABI added 0.1% to 7,602

DUBAI up 0.1% to 2,816

QATAR gained 0.1% to 10,933

EGYPT rose 1.3% to 11,023

BAHRAIN was up 0.3% to 1,636

OMAN up 0.4% to 4,019

KUWAIT added 0.2% to 7,220.

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