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Most major stock markets rise as Omicron fears ease

Most major stock markets rise as Omicron fears ease.Dec 13 Most major stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Monday as investor appetite improved amid a growing view that the Omicron coronavirus variant may not cause severe illness.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index (.TASI) gained 0.5%, with Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) rising 1%.

Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it expected to post its first budget surplus in nearly a decade next year, as it plans to restrict public spending despite a surge in oil prices that helped to refill state coffers hammered by the pandemic. read more

Riyadh plans to reduce military spending next year by around 10% from its 2021 estimates, the budget showed, a sign that the cost of the military conflict in neighbouring Yemen has started to ease.

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) (7010.SE) advanced 2.4%, reversing much of the previous day’s around 3% loss posted after the final price for the sale of 120 million shares of the company was set at 100 riyals per share, the lower end of an indicative range of 100 to 116 riyals. read more

The kingdom’s Public Investment Fund is set to raise 12 billion riyals ($3.20 billion) through the sale of a 6% stake in STC.

Dubai’s main share index (.DFMGI) added 0.5%, led by a 1.8% gain in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU) and a 0.9% increase in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank (DISB.DU).

Most major stock markets rise as Omicron fears ease,Dubai’s deputy ruler and finance minister Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed announced the listing of Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower), the emirate’s media office reported on Saturday. read more

Investors remain optimistic regarding the market’s potential to grow with upcoming IPOs and the new volumes it could attract by shifting to a Monday-Friday trading week, better aligning the bourse with foreign markets, said Farah Mourad, Senior Market Analyst of XTB MENA.

The Qatari index (.QSI) was up 0.3%, helped by a 0.6% increase in Qatar Islamic Bank (QISB.QA).

In Abu Dhabi, the index (.ADI) lost 0.4%, weighed down by a 2.3% fall in the country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD).

SAUDI ARABIA(.TASI) rose 0.5% to 11,020
ABU DHABI(.ADI) fell 0.4% to 8,935
DUBAI(.DFMGI) added 0.5% to 3,247
QATAR(.QSI) gained 0.3% to 11,660
EGYPT(.EGX30) lost 0.1% to 11,700
BAHRAIN(.BAX) eased 0.2% to 1,783
OMAN(.MSX30) rose 0.5% to 4,007
KUWAIT(.BKP) dropped 0.3% to 7,593

($1 = 3.7513 riyals)