Saudi Arabian stocks rise before earnings as Gulf markets reopen

Saudi Arabian stocks had their biggest gain in two weeks as trading resumed in most Gulf Arab equity markets and investors prepared for release of financial results in the kingdom. The Tadawul All Share Index led the advance among gauges in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, adding 0.7 percent at 11:28 a.m. in Riyadh. Oman’s benchmark rose 0.1 percent, while Kuwait’s dropped 0.3 percent. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index erased earlier gains as National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC and First Gulf Bank PJSC declined after announcing plans to merge last week. “We can expect focus to shift to second-quarter results from here, which start with Saudi Arabia this week,” said Saleem Khokhar, the Abu Dhabi-based head of fund management and equities at the asset-management group of NBAD, the United Arab Emirates’ second-biggest bank by assets. “We expect real estate to do well, petrochemicals to be okay but bank earnings to be soft.” Gains in Gulf stocks followed advances in emerging markets at the end of last week on speculation the U.S. will hold off from raising interest rates even after jobs data were stronger than forecast. While futures traders boosted wagers for Federal Reserve rate increases, they were still well below levels predicted at the start of June as investors weighed the global economic fallout of Britain’s vote last month to leave the European Union. Trading volumes picked up in Gulf markets as investors returned following the holy month of Ramadan, when many Muslims last from dawn until dusk and activity typically slows. Dubai’s DFM General Index traded higher as about 141 million shares changed hands, 68 percent above the intraday average of the past 20 days. Markets across the region were closed for all or part of last week to mark the end of the religious period. Bloomberg

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