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Gulf Equities Open Mixed amid Rising Oil Prices

March 27 (Reuters) - Major Gulf markets opened mixed on Monday, mirroring gains in oil prices as investors pin their hopes on modest interest rate hikes amid governments' efforts to soothe fears over the global banking system.

Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar, with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar usually mirroring monetary policy changes in the United States.

Oil prices - a key catalyst for Gulf financial markets - rose on Monday, with Brent crude futures jumping 77 cents, or 1.03%, to $75.76 a barrel, as of 0731 GMT.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index rose 0.5%, its third positive day in a row, boosted by gains in almost all sectors, led by financial and real estate stocks.

Saudi National Bank, the country's largest lender by assets, jumped 1.9% as it appointed Chief Executive Saeed Mohammed Al Ghamdi as the bank's chairman, replacing Abdul Wahed Al Khudairy.

The board also appointed Talal Ahmed Al Khereiji as acting CEO, with all changes effective March 27.

However, Sabic Agri-Nutrients, which was trading ex-dividend, recorded its sharpest intraday decline in over three years, falling more than 8%.

The Qatari Stock index edged up 0.1%, extending gains to a fourth consecutive session, as most banking stocks were trading in the positive territory.

Lender Masraf Al Rayan and index heavyweights Qatar Commercial Bank advanced 1.4% and 0.8%, respectively.

Dubai's benchmark stock index fell 0.8%, extending losses to a second consecutive session, led by a 1.2% decline in Emirates NBD Bank, UAE's largest lender, and a 0.8% dip in Dubai Islamic Bank.

Abu Dhabi's benchmark index also opened down 0.5%, its third day in the red, dragged by a 0.3% drop in conglomerate International holding Company and a 1.3% decline in Adnoc Gas.

Abu Dhabi-based data analytics company Presight AI climbed as much as 176% after raising 1.82 billion dirhams ($495.6 million) in an initial public offering.

Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema

Source: Reuters

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