May 21, 2020 / 8:08 AM / 16 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks gain in early trade, other Gulf markets mixed

May 21 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian shares gained in early trade, registering their fifth consecutive daily gain amid a recovery in oil prices, after the world’s largest oil producer agreed with Kuwait to halt oil production at the Al-Khafji field to curb supply glut.

Other major Gulf markets were mixed.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will halt oil production from the joint Al-Khafji field for one month, as of June 1, as part of OPEC+ meeting in April to cut oil production to rebalance global oil markets.

Oil prices rose on Thursday, with Brent crude up 1.7% at 0550 GMT and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures gaining 1.8%.

Saudi Arabia’s index was up 0.4%, led by the oil giant Saudi Aramco, which gained 0.5%.

National Commercial Bank rose 0.5%, its seventh straight day of gains. The country’s largest lender on Sunday reported a 2.1% rise in first quarter profit.

Abu Dhabi’s index was down 0.5%. First Abu Dhabi Bank slipped 0.9% and telecoms company Etisalat was down 0.4% — it fell for the second day after saying its chief executive had resigned.

Aldar Properties was flat but rose as much as 2.3% in early trade despite reporting a 39% fall in first-quarter profit.

The developer said the coronavirus pandemic would impact its operating environment for this year but that it still had a robust balance sheet, with AED 6.8 billion dirhams ($1.85 billion) of free cash and undrawn credit facilities.

Dubai’s index was flat, with Emaar properties down 0.8% and Aramex gaining 2.2%.

Dubai Financial Market rose 2.1% after reporting a 23.5% increase in quarterly profit to 34.7 million dirhams.

The Qatari index was down 0.2% after three consecutive days of gains. Masraf Al Rayan lost 0.7%, while Qatar International Islamic Bank dropped 1.2%.

$1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham $1 = 3.7545 riyals Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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