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 Most Gulf bourses rise despite Omicron concerns

A general view picture shows the Bahrain Bourse in Manama, Bahrain, November 5, 2020. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Most Gulf bourses rise despite Omicron concerns

Dec 22 (Reuters) – Most stock markets in the Gulf rose in early trade on Wednesday, in line with oil prices and Asian shares, despite the surging number of Omicron coronavirus variant cases around the world.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index (.TASI) gained 0.4%, with Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) rising 0.3%, while Saudi Investment Bank (1030.SE) jumped more than 7% after announcing a capital increase by issuing bonus shares.

Saudi Investment Bank’s board also proposed a dividend of 0.70 riyal per share for the year 2021.

ACWA Power (2082.SE) added 0.4%, a day after the utility developer said it closed an agreement for $1.33 billion in senior debt for a multi-utilities project at Saudi Arabia’s planned multi-billion dollar Red Sea project. read more

Oil prices were steady with market players on the lookout for fuel demand pointers amid COVID-19 concerns, while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) was up 0.24% in afternoon trade.

Dubai’s main share index (.DFMGI) rose 0.3%, driven by a 0.5% gain in Dubai Investments (DINV.DU).

The Qatari benchmark (.QSI) edged 0.1% higher, helped by a 0.6% increase in sharia-compliant lender Masraf Al Rayan (MARK.QA).

The Abu Dhabi index (.ADI) dropped 0.7%, on course for a fourth straight session of drop, with telecoms firm Etisalat (ETISALAT.AD) sliding 4.3%.

Meanwhile, shares of Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA.AD) advanced 1.5%, after the firm and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) announced a $3.6 billion project to reduce the carbon footprint of ADNOC’s offshore production operations by more than 30%. read more

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is spreading faster than the Delta variant and is causing infections in people already vaccinated or who have recovered from the disease, the head of the World Health Organization said on Monday. read moreReporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

This article was originally published by Reuters.

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