Most Gulf markets recovered from earlier losses on Monday to close higher, with Saudi lifted by financial shares and Kuwait rising for the eighth straight session following MSCI’s decision to include the country in its main emerging markets index.
The Saudi index gained 0.2 per cent with Al Rajhi Bank rising 0.6 per cent and Riyad Bank adding 1.7 per cent after its board proposed a higher dividend for the first-half of the year.
The market is up nearly 13 per cent so far this year in a rally led by foreign investors.
Total ownership of Saudi stocks by foreign investors increased to 7.47 per cent by June 30, up from 4.67 per cent at the end of December, stock exchange data shows, reflecting increased active and passive fund flows this year.
Advanced Petrochemical fell 0.9 per cent after it posted an over 24 per cent decline in second-quarter profit, which it blamed on a drop in sales volume and product prices.
Kuwait’s index closed 0.2 per cent higher. The index has surged since MSCI said it would move Kuwaiti equities to its main emerging market index in 2020, a move that could trigger billions of dollars of inflows.
Kuwait has outperformed its Gulf peers in anticipation of the MSCI move, gaining nearly 26 per cent year-to-date.
Middle Eastern funds plan to continue increasing investments in Kuwait over the next three months, a Reuters poll found earlier this week.
The Abu Dhabi index added 0.2 per cent with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank gaining 1.3 per cent. However, Bank Of Sharjah plunged 3.9 per cent after reporting a 38 per cent slump in first-quarter profit.
The Dubai index increased 0.3 per cent led by a 2.5 per cent jump in its largest listed developer Emaar Properties.