Gulf stock markets rise, strong economic data propels Saudi Arabia 2% higher – Markets

DUBAI: Gulf markets ended higher on Wednesday, with Saudi Arabia’s main index posting a gain after five consecutive sessions of losses as its gross domestic product rate rose.

Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product rose 6.7% in the fourth quarter, while overall growth last year rose 3.2%, official statistics showed, broadly in line with estimates previous government.

“Saudi Arabia’s economic output remains strong and in line with expectations, which could help support the broader stock market,” said Farah Mourad, senior market analyst at XTB MENA. Saudi Arabia currently has “strong fundamentals” favoring the direction of the stock market, he said.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark rose 2%, with Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) jumping 9.9% after UAE telecommunications group e& made an offer to increase its stake in Mobily to 50% and one share.

Oil giant Saudi Aramco boosted morale, up 5.5%.

Outside the Gulf, the Egyptian blue chip index ended up 2.6%, with real estate companies Heliopolis and Medinet Nasr up 9.2% and 6% respectively.

On Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi asked the government to set a price for unsubsidized bread following recent increases in the price of bread.

Mourad said the move to mitigate the effect of rising wheat prices could help stabilize Egypt’s stock market.

Dubai’s main index gained 2%, helped by a 14% jump in Islamic Arab Insurance Co.

In Abu Dhabi, the index ended up 1.2%, with e& up 1.9%.

The Qatari index rose 0.3%, boosted by heavyweights Qatar International Islamic Bank and Qatar Gas Transport.

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