Major Gulf markets rise in early trade

Major stock markets in the Gulf rose early on Sunday, lifted by gains in their banking shares, with the Saudi index leading the way.

The kingdom’s food and drug administration has approved the COVID-19 vaccine made by AstraZeneca, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing state TV.

The benchmark index in Saudi Arabia traded 0.5 percent higher, on course to end two sessions of losses.

Al Rajhi Bank rose 0.6 percent, while Banque Saudi Fransi jumped 3.1 percent.

Dubai’s main share index rose 0.3 percent, with its largest lender Emirates NBD gaining 0.4 percent, and DAMAC Properties advancing 1.6 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, the index added 0.2 percent, helped by a 0.3 percent gain in the United Arab Emirates’ largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Meanwhile, sovereign wealth and public pension funds are bolstering their funding of private debt, with close to $9 billion committed since the COVID-19 crisis as they hunt for yield and their ample liquidity allows them to take on more risk than banks.

The Qatari index was up 0.3 percent, led by gains in financial shares, with top lender Qatar National Bank rising 1.9 percent.

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