May 17, 2020 / 11:59 AM / 11 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil prices, corporate earnings boost Saudi shares

    * Aramco closes at 31.95 riyals
    * NCB, Riyad Bank gain on earnings
    * Air Arabia rises despite lower Q1 profit
    * DFM sees sharpest intraday rise in over a decade

    By Maqsood Alam
    May 17 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian stocks rose sharply on Sunday buoyed by
jump in oil prices and positive corporate earnings, while Dubai was up on news
about potential financial support from Abu Dhabi.
    U.S. crude prices jumped 7% on Friday and Brent crude settled 4.4% up at
$32.50 a barrel as demand showed signs of picking up with countries easing
travel restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
    Saudi Arabia's index closed 1.6% higher led by Al Rajhi Bank
 and Saudi Aramco which rose 2% a 1.8%, respectively.
    Saudi Aramco closed at 31.95 riyals, slightly below its initial public
offering price of 32 riyals.
    National Commercial Bank (NCB) advanced 2.8% after reporting a
2.1% rise in first-quarter profit and Riyad Bank rose 2.9% as its net
special commission and fee income increased 7.3%.
    Dubai's index rose 0.9% as Dubai Financial Market surged
14.9% to its sharpest intraday rise since 13 October 2008, while Dubai
Investment added 3.6%.
    Reuters reported, citing sources, that the governments of Abu Dhabi and
Dubai were discussing ways to prop up Dubai's economy by linking assets in the
two emirates, with Abu Dhabi's state fund Mubadala likely to play a key role in
any deal.
    Dubai denied being in talks with Abu Dhabi for support from
    The Abu Dhabi index inched down 0.1% with telecoms firm Etisalat
 losing 0.3% and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank gaining 0.9%.
    The Qatari index closed 0.4% down as Masraf al Rayan shed
1.4% and Industries Qatar slipped 1.2%.
    In Egypt, the blue-chip index was up 0.7% as the market heavyweight
Commercial International Bank Egypt rose 1.2%.
    Egypt's central bank left its main interest rates on hold on Thursday,
balancing a growth slowdown with an unexpected uptick in inflation.
    Egypt, which cut growth target to 4.2% from 5.6% for the current fiscal year
which ends in June, reported an uptick in annual inflation to 5.9% in April from
5.1% in March. 
 SAUDI ARABIA          rose 1.6% to 6,825 points
 ABU DHABI            edged down 0.1% to 4,065 points
 DUBAI                  gained 0.9% to 1,911 points
 QATAR                lost 0.4% to 8,699 points
 EGYPT                  was up 0.7% to 10,357 points
 BAHRAIN              was up 0.4% to 1,246 points
 OMAN                 was up 0.5% to 3,438 points
 KUWAIT               rose 2.4% to 5,147 points

($1 = 3.7560 riyals)

 (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru
Editing by Frances Kerry)
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