August 20, 2019 / 8:31 AM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Financial shares lift most major Gulf markets

Aug 20 (Reuters) - Major Gulf stock markets rose in early trade on Tuesday, buoyed by financial shares amid steady oil prices on optimism that U.S.-China trade tensions could ease and stimulus measures by major economies to counter a possible global economic slowdown.

The United States said it would extend a reprieve that permits China’s Huawei Technologies to buy components from U.S. companies, signalling a slight softening of the trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies.

China’s new lending reference rate was set slightly lower on Tuesday, while Germany said on Sunday Berlin could make available up to 50 billion euros ($55 billion) of extra spending, adding that Germany has the fiscal strength to counter any future economic crisis “with full force”.

Saudi Arabia’s index was up 0.5% as banking stocks extended gains from previous sessions. Banque Saudi Fransi rose 2.3% and National Commercial Bank gained 0.8%.

The index was also underpinned by some positive earnings. Arabian Centres, which went public in May, jumped 4.1% after reporting a 180.4% increase in its first-quarter profit to 227 million riyals ($60.53 million), citing lower impairment loss and finance cost.

Saudi Research and Marketing Group gained 2.5%, after posting a higher second-quarter profit.

Qatar’s index rose 0.3% in its straight third day of gains, with the Gulf’s biggest lender, Qatar National Bank , gaining 1.4% and Ooredoo rising 1.7%.

Qatar’s index, which is down 4.5% in the year-to-date, has steadied since the central bank on Thursday said Qatar’s economic growth would accelerate over the next two years amid expectations of stable oil prices and continued strong exports.

In Abu Dhabi, the index advanced 0.3% as Emirates Telecommunication Group traded 0.6% higher and First Abu Dhabi Bank gained 0.3%.

But Abu Dhabi’s only listed pharmaceutical firm Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries plunged 9.8% after recalling a single batch of its Laxocodyl suppository over a labelling error.

Dubai’s index slipped 0.1% with Mashreqbank , down 6.3%, the top loser. ($1 = 3.7504 riyals) (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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