x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Bank merger boosts Oman

Oman International Bank lead shares higher on the Muscat Securities Exchange yesterday after it confirmed that it was in merger talks with HSBC Oman.

The Muscat Index rose by 0.5 per cent.
The Muscat Index rose by 0.5 per cent.

Oman's shares rose for the first time in nine trading sessions after the country's fifth-largest bank said it was in merger talks.

"Oman International Bank is in early-stage negotiations about a merger of its business with HSBC's Oman operations," the lender's chairman, Ali Juma, said in a filing to the country's stock exchange.

Oman International Bank, the top-traded stock on the Muscat Securities Market yesterday, surged 7.2 per cent to 0.28rials.

The index rose 0.5 per cent to 5,564.34 points, its first gain since September 27.

UAE shares closed mixed yesterday, with Dubai's index unable to sustain gains made during the first half of the trading day.

"Investors took comfort from Saudi Arabia's positive performance yesterday, but as we went through the session, there was not enough momentum to continue, with day traders and investors compelled to close positions amid a lack of liquidity," said Julian Bruce, the director of equity sales at EFG-Hermes in Dubai.

The Dubai Financial Market General Indexdeclined 0.01 per cent to 1,395.32 points.

Banking stocks buoyed the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index, which rose 0.2 per cent to 2,499.66.

Elsewhere in the region: Kuwait's measure gained 0.4 per cent to 5852.20; Bahrain's index lost 0.1 per cent to 1164.21; and Qatar's benchmark added 0.3 per cent to 8267.62. The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index added 0.2 per cent to 6099.77.