Saudi Stocks Advance Most in Mideast as Banks Recover

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A digital screen displays stock prices and financial investment information inside the Saudi Stock Exchange, also known as the Tadawul, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Foreign investors bought more Saudi stocks in March than ever before in anticipation of the kingdom’s upgrade to emerging-market status. Photographer: Abdulrahman Abdullah/Bloomberg

Stocks in Saudi Arabia climbed the most among Middle Eastern equity markets on Sunday, boosted by banking shares, after the government said it has no plans to increase an Islamic levy on local lenders.

National Commercial Bank, the biggest Saudi bank by assets, rose 1.7 percent and trimmed a loss of 2.1 percent on Thursday. The stock contributed the most to the 0.3 percent increase of the Tadawul All Share Index on a weighed basis. Al Rajhi Bank followed as it added 0.7 percent.

The gauge tracking lenders posted the biggest drop since Jan. 20 in Riyadh on Thursday after a report that the kingdom is considering plans to raise an Islamic tax paid by local banks to as much as 20 percent, or double the current rate, according to people with knowledge of the matter. On Friday, the nation’s tax authority said it has no plans to increase the levy known as Zakat.

HIGHLIGHTS

Markets in Egypt, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar climb, while those in Bahrain and Oman fall. Kuwait’s gauge is unchanged. EM stocks declined 1.3% on Friday, their worst daily performance since Dec. 14

MIDDLE EASTERN MARKETS:

The Tadawul Banks Index advanced 0.7%, with all but one of its 12 members climbing READ: Five Trends Are Reshaping Saudi Arabia’s Big Banks This Year In Dubai, the DFM General Index fell less than 0.1 percent Emaar Properties adds 1.1%, extending the increase this year to 16% Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index is little changed The gauge fell below its 100-day moving average last week, a move that hasn’t happened since Nov. Doha’s QE Index climbs 0.1%, trimming loss this year to 5% MORE: Danger Sign for Qatar Stocks as Neighbors Lure Foreign Investors In Egypt, the EGX30 Index rises 0.4% Earlier: Egypt Feb. Urban Consumer Prices Rise 14.4% From a Year Ago