Abu Dhabi’s stock market rose to a near five-year high yesterday, lifted by First Abu Dhabi Bank, while petrochemical stocks led gains on Saudi Arabia’s main index.
The Abu Dhabi index was up 0.9 percent after hitting its highest since May 2014. First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates’ largest lender, climbed 2.4pc to 16 dirhams, touching an all-time high. Last week, the bank obtained regulatory approval to increase its foreign ownership limit to 40pc from a previous limit of 25pc.
The Saudi index was up 0.4pc with its top petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries gaining 1.1pc and Riyad Bank advancing 2.1pc. Bank Albilad rose 1.5pc after its first-quarter net profit grew more than 23pc.
The bourse has gained 16pc so far this year as foreign buyers rushed in ahead of and after its entry into the FTSE Russell’s emerging market index on March 18. Foreign investors have been net buyers of Saudi stocks every week this year and bought 1.21 billion riyals ($322.64 million) of shares on a net basis in the last week, according to stock exchange data released late on Sunday