Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s stock markets ended higher on Sunday boosted by solid earnings reports from banks and other companies, although worries that tensions in Israel and Gaza could spread into a wider conflict weighed on sentiment.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index (.TASI) gained 0.7%, led by a 3.6% rise in auto rental firm Lumi (4262.SE), while Etihad Atheeb Telecommunications Co (7040.SE) finished 2.1% higher.
The telecom firm agreed a 48 million riyal ($12.79 million) settlement with Tawal – a tower infrastructure unit that Saudi Telecom Co (STC) (7010.SE) carved out in 2018 – over a tower sharing agreement.
Shares of STC were up 2.2%.
Elsewhere, Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Services Group (4013.SE) jumped 6.4%, its biggest intraday gain since Nov. 2020, after reporting a sharp rise in third-quarter profit.
The firm also proposed a dividend of 1.17 riyals per share for the quarter ending Sept. 30.
Separately, foreign companies are scrambling to meet a Saudi deadline to locate their regional headquarters in the kingdom by January amid a lack of clarity over regulation, tax and potential incentives to encourage the move, Reuters reported on Friday, citing executives.
Firms risk losing hundreds of billions of dollars in government contracts in Saudi Arabia if their regional headquarters are based elsewhere.
The Qatari benchmark (.QSI) added 0.4%, with sharia-compliant lender Masraf Al Rayan (MARK.QA) jumping 8.8%, logging its best day in nearly eight years, on upbeat third-quarter earnings.
The lender reported third-quarter net profit of 486.4 million riyals ($133.61 million), up from 331.3 million riyals a year earlier.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index (.EGX30) dropped 0.8%, as most of the constituents on the index were in negative territories including Abu Qir Fertilizers (ABUK.CA), which dropped 6.5%.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Saturday warned against any expansion of the conflict in Gaza, saying the region is at risk of becoming a “ticking time bomb”.
The total death toll in Gaza rose to 8,005 people including 3,324 minors and 20,242 others injured, according to the official spokesperson for the health ministry in Gaza on Sunday.