* Nine of the 12 listed banks on Saudi Arabia’s bourse gained in the first 45 minutes of trade
* In Qatar, the index rose 0.6 per cent
* Dubai’s index pulled back 0.5 per cent
Stock markets in the Gulf were mixed in early, quiet trade on Sunday with Saudi Arabia and Qatar outperforming because of support from the banking sector as United Arab Emirates bourses succumbed to profit-taking.
Nine of the 12 listed banks on Saudi Arabia’s bourse gained in the first 45 minutes of trade, lifting the index 0.4 per cent.
The largest Islamic lender, Al Rajhi Bank, added 1.5 per cent after its chief executive told Reuters that the bank gained market share in corporate banking last year for the first time in four years, and would continue to expand in that area by focusing on healthcare services, affordable housing, transportation and energy.
Most petrochemical shares were also bid higher, with National Industrialization (Tasnee) up 1.2 per cent.
Southern Cement rose 0.4 per cent after saying it would pay a cash dividend of 2.25 riyals per share for the second half of 2016, taking the full-year dividend to 4.75 riyals. That, however, is lower than the 6 riyals per share paid out for 2015.
In Qatar, the index rose 0.6 per cent. The largest listed stock, Qatar National Bank, was up 1.4 per cent.
Dubai’s index, however, pulled back 0.5 per cent, dragged lower by a 2.9 per cent fall by builder Arabtec and a 1.8 decline in Drake & Scull
Shuaa Capital climbed 3.1 per cent on optimism over the investment company’s new strategy, which was announced this month and includes an acquisition.
Large caps weighed on Abu Dhabi’s index, which fell 0.3 per cent. First Gulf Bank lost 1.1 percent and Etisalat was down 0.5 per cent.