Stock markets: Gulf bourses extend gains after oil edges up

Supported by a fall in US crude oil inventories, Brent futures traded above $51 per barrel
Stock markets: Gulf bourses extend gains after oil edges up
By Reuters
Thu 08 Jan 2015 10:42 AM

(Updated 12:49) Gulf stock markets rose on
Thursday after oil rebounded slightly from its Wednesday low and several
companies made positive announcements.

Supported by a fall in US crude oil inventories,
Brent futures bounced around $51 per barrel on Thursday after briefly dropping
below $50 in the previous session.

Saudi Arabia's stock index climbed 1.8 percent in a
broad rally. Shares in Saudi British Bank (SABB) jumped 2.1 percent after it
received approval to raise its capital by 50 percent to 15 billion riyals ($4
billion) through a bonus share issue.

Banque Saudi Fransi added 1.6 percent after its
board recommended a cash dividend of 0.5 riyal per share for the second half of
2014. The lender paid no dividend in the same period last year and analysts had
expected, on average, just 0.16 riyal.

Dubai's equities index rose 3.1 percent and shares
in bourse operator Dubai Financial Market surged 6.6 percent after economy
minister Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri said the United Arab Emirates government
would favour a merger of the main Abu Dhabi and Dubai bourses, although the
decision was up to the exchanges themselves.

Qatar's benchmark jumped 3.5 percent. Gulf
International Services surged 4.9 percent after its board recommended a 5.5
riyal 2014 dividend, up from 2.0 riyals a year earlier. The firm said its
business, which includes providing services to companies such as Qatar
Petroleum, was unaffected by lower oil prices.

Other Gulf markets were also positive; Abu Dhabi's
bourse rose 1.6 percent, while Kuwait and Oman edged up 0.8 percent each.

Egypt's index rose 1.6 percent. Developer Talaat
Moustafa Group was one of the main supports, adding 2.5 percent to 9.95
Egyptian pounds after NBK Capital recommended it as a "buy" with a
fair value of 11.80 pounds.

"Our positive outlook on the stock mainly
stems from the company's massive land bank and strong visibility over a
prolonged period, sustained high demand in the Egyptian real estate market,
TMG's attractive positioning in the mid-income segment, and the company's
healthy balance sheet and cash flows," it said in a note.

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