March 13 (Reuters) - Dubai’s stock market rose on Wednesday, supported by a jump in courier firm Aramex, while Saudi Arabia also gained as most of its banks traded higher amid rising oil prices.
In Dubai, the index was up 0.5 percent, with Aramex climbing 7.3 percent in active trade. Australia Post Transaction Services sold its 10 percent stake in the firm for 602.6 million dirhams ($164.1 million).
That opened up the possibility for a new foreign investor to buy into the company, Arqaam Capital said, adding this was “an excellent time” to buy the stock.
Dubai Investments gained 3.1 percent. Its board proposed a cash dividend of 10 percent of share capital for 2018. The firm posted a 35 percent drop in its net profit for the year.
Saudi Arabia’s index was up 0.5 percent, with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 1.2 percent and its largest lender National Commercial Bank adding 0.6 percent.
The index is up 8.5 percent this year, outperforming major Gulf markets, with big investors in Saudi Arabia pushing ahead with deals and pouring money back into stocks as the country tries to move on from journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.
Foreign net buying in the Saudi market picked up in the first week of March, coming in at 985 million riyals ($263 million), the highest since the week ending Jan. 17, Arqaam Capital said.
Developer Arriyadh Development added 1 percent after the Capital Market Authority approved an increase in capital to 1.78 billion riyals from 1.33 billion riyals through a bonus share issue.
But Saudi Public Transport lost 4 percent after its board decided not to pay a dividend for 2018 after paying 0.5 riyal per share a year earlier.
The Abu Dhabi index was down 0.3 percent with the United Arab Emirates’ top lender First Abu Dhabi Bank slipping 0.7 percent and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank shedding 1.8 percent.
Banks in the UAE are expected to experience a rise in loan losses over the next 12 to 18 months as a decline in real estate prices and rising interest rates reduce borrowers’ cash flows, according to Moody’s.
Qatar’s index edged down 0.1 percent with Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding losing 3.4 percent.
($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirham)
$1 = 3.7502 riyals Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter