Saudi Arabia’s stock market closed higher on Sunday to outperform the Gulf region, amid expectations of a lower interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve after the collapse of two major regional banks.
Markets are pricing in a 25bp hike by the US Federal Reserve when it meets next week, below earlier expectations of a 50bp hike.
Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the US dollar, while Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar tend to reflect changes in US monetary policy.
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Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index ended its five-session losing streak, rising 1.8 percent, its biggest intraday gain since Dec. 13.
The index was lifted by gains across all sectors, led by banking and materials, with the world’s largest Islamic bank by assets, Al Rajhi Bank up 3.3% and Riyad Bank up 4.2% .
Saudi oil giant Aramco rose 0.5 percent, while luxury property developer Retal Urban Development gained 1.4 percent.
Arabian Drilling fell 4.5 percent after reporting a fourth-quarter net profit of 137 million rials ($36.47 million), a 66 percent quarter-on-quarter drop. However, profit increased by 16% year-on-year.
Qatar’s stock index fell marginally, extending its decline to a sixth session, with gains in the financials and communications sectors weighed down by losses in the industrials and materials sectors.
Islamic banking heavyweights Qatar Islamic Bank and Masraf Al Rayan rose 1.9% and 3.2% respectively.
But Qatar Navigation and Qatar Fuel fell 6.5% and 2.3% respectively.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index fell 0.2%, extending its losses to a sixth session.
The index was dragged down by a 6.1% drop in Telecom Egypt and a 3.2% decline in Fawry Banking.
Shares of Cleopatra Hospital fell 3.1% after the health and medical services provider reported a 27% drop in fourth-quarter consolidated net profit.
SAUDI ARABIA rose 1.8% to 10,158
QATAR fell 0.01% to 9,909
KUWAIT added 0.2% to 7,855
BAHRAIN finished flat at 1,897
OMAN fell 0.3% to 4,872
EGYPT lost 0.2% to 14,681