May 17, 2020 / 9:58 AM / 13 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Major Gulf stocks gain in early trade amid rising oil prices

May 17 (Reuters) - Major Gulf stock markets opened higher on Sunday amid rising oil prices, with Saudi Arabia getting an additional boost from corporate earnings.

U.S. crude prices jumped 7% on Friday and Brent crude settled 4.4% up at $32.50 a barrel as demand shows signs of picking with countries easing travel restrictions.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index was up 1.1% led by Saudi Aramco which rose 1.4% to 31.85 riyals, nearing its initial public offering price of 32 riyals. Saudi Basic Industries increased 2.6%.

National Commercial Bank gained 2.3% after reporting a 2.1% rise in first-quarter profit and Riyad Bank rose 2.4% as its net special commission and fee income increased 7.3% to 2.61 billion riyals ($695 million).

Dubai’s index rose 0.9% led by a 1.7% gain in Emaar Properties and 2.5% rise in Emaar Malls.

Budget carrier Air Arabia was up 3% and Deyaar Development rose 2.4% despite each reporting lower first-quarter profits.

Meanwhile, the governments of Abu Dhabi and Dubai are 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, three sources told Reuters.

However, Dubai denied being in talks with Abu Dhabi for support from Mubadala.

In Abu Dhabi, the index edged up 0.3% with telecoms firm Etisalat gaining 0.4% and Aldar Properties rising 1.7%.

The Qatari index gained 0.4% as Industries Qatar and the Gulf’s largest lender Qatar National Bank rose 1.9% and 0.6%, respectively.

$1 = 3.7550 riyals Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely

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