NBAD and FGB merger talk sends Abu Dhabi shares soaring

Arabian Gulf shares had a broadly positive start to the week, after a firming up of oil prices on Friday and a mini-recovery in European equities.

Crude oil recovered ground on Friday after six straight days of declines, following a softening of the US dollar. Brent crude futures closed up more than 4 per cent at $49.17 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate futures closed at $47.98.

European stocks staged a mini rebound on Friday, with the Euro Stoxx 50 closing up 1.06 per cent. But the S&P 500 ended the day down 0.33 per cent.

Abu Dhabi shares were the runaway winners across the Arabian Gulf yesterday, as confirmation of merger talks between NBAD and FGB sent banking stocks soaring.

The capital’s headline index ended the day up by 4.68 per cent at 4,524.41, its largest one day gain in nearly eighteen months.

Such sentiment was not shared in Dubai, however, where trading volumes on the Dubai Financial Market General Index fell below 90 million for only the second time this year.

Dubai shares ended the day 0.33 per cent lower at 3,296.69, dragged lower by big names including Dubai Investments and Emaar Properties. DIB was the pick of just six gainers on the headline index, closing up 0.79 per cent at Dh5.08.

Shares in Kuwait, meanwhile, had their best day since early February, closing up 1.16 per cent thanks to gains from Tamdeen Real Estate, Mezzan Holding and Ooredoo Kuwait.Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index was unchanged.

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