Saudi Arabia stocks were lifted on Monday by optimism about fund flows, while other bourses in the region were lacklustre.
The Saudi index closed 1.0 percent higher, lifted by financial stocks. Insurance firm BUPA Arabia gained 5.5 percent after it recommended an increase in capital to 1.2 billion riyals ($320 million) from 800 million riyals through a 1-for-2 bonus share issue. Banks were also up, with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 2.7 percent, returning to the multi-year high hit.
“Investor sentiment is still positive on Saudi due to relatively higher oil prices. Overall we have positive vibes in the market for now ahead of a (potential) MSCI upgrade,” said Muhammad Faisal Potrik, head of research at Riyad Capital.
Index compiler MSCI will decide in June whether to upgrade Riyadh to emerging market status.
In Dubai, Emaar Properties fell 1.7 percent, pushing the index 0.3 percent lower.
In Oman, National Bank of Oman fell 1.6 percent after it reported a nearly 9 percent drop in quarterly net profit to 12.6 million rials ($32.7 million), below EFG Hermes’ forecast of 13.3 million rials but above Gulf Baader Capital Markets’ 11.1 million rials.