August 26, 2018 / 8:02 AM / 7 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf rises in quiet trade as Eid Al Adha holiday ends

DUBAI, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets rose in quiet, early trade on Sunday, led by broad-based gains in Saudi Arabia, as they reopened after a one-week break for the Muslim festival of Eid Al Adha.

During that week, the MSCI emerging market index climbed 2.7 percent as Turkish markets stabilised after plunging because of the country’s currency crisis.

This encouraged Gulf institutional investors to buy stocks on Sunday as they returned from holiday, although trading volumes remained modest as many individual investors were still absent.

The Saudi stock index rose 1.1 percent in the first 45 minutes with gainers outnumbering losers by 124 to 20.

Petrochemical makers were particularly strong after the Brent oil price rebounded above $75.0 a barrel last week. The top petrochemical firm, Saudi Basic Industries , added 1.6 percent and Saudi Kayanb, the most heavily traded stock, rose 1.7 percent.

Arabian Shield Cooperative Insurance, which had been trading near 20-month lows, surged 3.2 percent after saying state utility National Water Co had engaged it to provide health insurance services to its employees for a year, a contract worth 104.5 million riyals ($27.9 million).

Dubai’s index gained 0.8 percent as top bank Emirates NBD, which had been sliding because of its exposure to Turkey through an acquisition currently underway, rebounded for a second straight trading day, adding 2.2 percent.

In Qatar, the index climbed 0.4 percent as the country’s biggest bank, Qatar National Bank, rose 0.9 percent. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia Editing by Gareth Jones)

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