Middle East stocks gained, with Qatar’s benchmark index climbing to a six-month high, after oil rose and leadership changes in Italy and Greece bolstered investor optimism that Europe’s debt crisis may be contained.
Qatar National Bank SAQ, the Persian Gulf country’s biggest bank by assets, gained 1.3 percent. Masraf Al Rayan, an Islamic lender, rose to the highest level in more than five years. The QE Index climbed 0.4 percent to 8,741.50, the highest level since May 11, at the 1 p.m. close in Doha. Israel’s benchmark measure gained 2.5 percent, the most since Oct. 16, while Egypt’s EGX 30 Index tumbled 1.9 percent.
“Political developments confirmed in Europe with the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi should support the market,” said Ahmed Talhaoui, head of asset management at Abu Dhabi-based Royal Capital PJSC. “Oil prices are still supportive in spite of global growth concerns.”
Berlusconi, who dominated Italian politics for almost two decades, resigned as the fallout from his legal woes and contagion from the euro-region’s debt crisis led his government to unravel. European and U.S. shares gained last week after Italy’s Senate approved debt-reduction measures, paving the way for a new government led by former European Union Competition Commissioner Mario Monti. Greece swore in Lucas Papademos to head a unity government.
Crude for December delivery climbed 5 percent to $98.99 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange last week, the highest settlement since July 26 and the sixth weekly increase. Gulf Arab oil exporters including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar supply about a fifth of the world’s oil.
Qatar National Bank rose to 151 riyals, the highest close since September 2005. Masraf Al Rayan increased 0.4 percent to 26.5 riyals, the highest close since July 2006.
About five million shares traded in Qatar today, compared with a 12-month daily average of about 9 million shares, according to Bloomberg data.
Dubai’s DFM General Index climbed 0.7 percent and Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index increased 0.6 percent. Oman’s MSM30 Index slipped 0.1 percent. Kuwait’s gauge declined 0.7 percent, while Bahrain’s benchmark was unchanged. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rose less than 0.1 percent. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index increased 0.1 percent.
In North Africa, Egypt’s EGX 30 Index dropped the most in more than a month to 4,298.73. About 56 million shares traded today compared with a six-month daily average of 83 million shares, Bloomberg data shows.
Israel’s TA-25 index jumped to 1,133.37. Delek Drilling-LP and Avner Oil Exploration-LP rose after Calcalist reported that China’s Cnooc Ltd. is discussing the possible purchase of a stake in the Leviathan natural-gas site.
Delek Drilling gained 4.6 percent to 13.35 shekels, the highest since May 1. Avner advanced 5.1 percent to 2.323 shekels, the highest since May 11.
The yield on the benchmark Mimshal Shiklit government bond due January 2022 rose four basis points, or 0.04 percentage point, to 4.68 percent.