x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Zain shares rise after dialling up Vodafone partnership

Market latest: Gulf markets hold steady, but Zain shares receive a boost after Kuwait's biggest telecoms company signs a services agreement with Vodafone.

Shares in Zain rose on the open after Kuwait's biggest telecoms company signed a services agreement with the UK's Vodafone Group.

Zain, also known as Mobile Telecommunications Company, rose 1.4 per cent to 700 fils each in early trading.

The deal sees Vodafone gain access to markets including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq, while Zain will see enhanced network coverage and easier roaming for its customers.

Despite the bounce at Zain, the Kuwait Stock Exchange Price Index was unchanged in early trading at 5,898.14.

The UAE's markets held steady following the release of improving economic data from Saudi Arabia.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index was flat at 1,545.69, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index was also unchanged at 2,557.76.

The SABB HSBC Saudi Arabia Purchasing Manager's Index rose to 58.3 in August from 58.1 a month earlier, when the reading hit a seven-month low.

A PMI reading of more than 50 signals expansion; below 50 signals contraction.

Asian markets were mixed as concerns over the faltering strength of the Chinese economy did little to slow equities in Hong Kong, with the Hang Seng index up 0.3 per cent at 19,457.00. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.6 per cent to 8,770.00.

Oil prices cooled in early trading, with Brent crude futures falling $1.23 cents to $114.63 per barrel.

ghunter@thenational.ae