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Saudi Arabia’s stock market ended higher on Sunday in response to rising oil prices, although the Qatari index bucked the trend to close lower.

Oil prices - a catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets - rose more than 2% on Friday after US data supported expectations of demand growth, but both benchmarks fell for a seventh straight week, their longest streak of weekly declines in half a decade, on lingering oversupply concerns.

US job growth accelerated in November, with the Labour Department’s employment report showing non-farm payrolls increased by 199,000 jobs last month, above the 180,000 estimate of economists polled by Reuters, after rising by an unrevised 150,000 in October. The unemployment rate fell to 3.7% from the near two-year high of 3.9% in October.

UAE markets end lower on decline in financial, industrial stocks

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index gained 0.6%, with AL Rajhi Bank gaining 2.8% and Etihad Atheeb Telecommunication Co.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world’s two biggest oil exporters, on Thursday called for all OPEC+ members to join an agreement on output cuts just days after a fractious meeting of the producers’ club.

Separately, the kingdom’s investment minister met with China’s commerce and industry chiefs in Beijing on Sunday and discussed expanding cooperation in trade, investment and technology, the Chinese ministries said.

The Qatari benchmark lost 0.7%, weighed down by a 1.7% fall in the Gulf’s biggest lender Qatar National Bank .

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index retreated 2%, with Commercial International Bank declining 2.3%.

Polls opened on Sunday in Egypt’s presidential election in which Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is set to secure six more years in power.

SAUDI ARABIA rose 0.6% to 11,297

QATAR dropped 0.7% to 9,779

EGYPT was down 2% to 24,190

BAHRAIN was flat at 1,943

OMAN gained 0.2% to 4,602

KUWAIT added 0.2% to 7,299

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