June 5, 2018 / 7:42 AM / 17 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi gains on TAQA, property stocks steady in Dubai

DUBAI, June 5 (Reuters) - Gulf stocks were mostly higher on Tuesday, with Abu Dhabi shares boosted by gains in energy firm Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) due to higher oil prices.

Abu Dhabi’s benchmark index was up 0.4 percent in early trade with TAQA shares rising 3.4 percent, fuelled by higher oil prices. TAQA shares have more than doubled this year.

Oil prices edged higher after falling nearly 2 percent in the previous session, but growing U.S. production and expectations of higher OPEC supplies limited the bounce.

In Dubai, Emaar Properties extended gains and were trading 0.6 percent higher, while DAMAC Properties rose 0.4 percent.

Dubai stocks were up 0.2 percent.

A Reuters poll of leading Middle East fund managers published last week found sentiment shifting in favour of United Arab Emirates equities after their poor performance so far this year.

In Qatar main blue-chip stocks were weak, led by a 1.7 percent drop in Industries Qatar, which has gained this year after increasing its foreign shareholders’ limit to 49 percent from 25 percent. The stock is up 9 percent so far this year.

Qatar National Bank opened weaker after broker EFG Hermes cut its rating to sell from a buy, but stabilised quickly. It was up 0.2 percent.

In Saudi Arabia, the index was up 0.2 percent, extending gains this week on news about the appointment of a prominent businessman as labour minister and as they await a possible MSCI upgrade to emerging markets status later this month. Property firm Jabal Omar Development Co was up 2 percent, while market heavyweight Al Rajhi Bank rose 0.5 percent. (Reporting by Saeed Azhar; editing by John Stonestreet and Angus MacSwan)

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