Stock News: Smooth Saudi Succession, ECB Easing May Support Gulf

The markets of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain are closed on Sunday because of King Abdullah’s death.



Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar may rise on Sunday after a smooth transition of power in Saudi Arabia and the launch of the European Central Bank’s bond-buying programme.

After the death of King Abdullah at the weekend, Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman pledged continuity in energy and foreign policies and moved quickly to appoint younger men as his heirs. He appeared to settle the succession issue for years to come by naming a deputy crown prince from his dynasty’s next generation.

This helped to quell speculation about internal palace rifts, and when it reopens on Monday, the Saudi stock market may react positively, buoying the entire region. The markets of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain are closed on Sunday because of King Abdullah’s death.

On global markets, European stocks hit seven-year highs on Friday, continuing a rally ignited by the ECB’s plan for massive regional monetary stimulus. Emerging market equities also rose on the news; MSCI’s emerging market index, in which stocks from the UAE and Qatar are included, added 0.8 per cent on Friday.

No major financial results for Gulf companies have been announced since Thursday’s close, but Dubai’s Arabtec Holding has won a Dhs345 million ($94 million) contract from Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) to expand a housing complex.

Another Dubai engineering firm, Drake and Scull, said on Sunday it had won a Dhs180 million project.

The board of Dubai Islamic Bank is meeting on Sunday to review its 2014 earnings.

Abu Dhabi’s First Gulf Bank may also attract investors willing to bet on a positive earnings surprise. The lender said on Sunday its board would review the results on Wednesday.