February 3, 2020 / 8:27 AM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Major Gulf markets mixed; UAE's TAQA surges on deal

Feb 3 (Reuters) - Dubai’s stock market rose on Monday, led by gains in banking and property shares, while other Gulf bourses were mixed as investors await corporate earnings announcements.

In Dubai, the index gained 0.8% with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties adding 1.3%, while Dubai Islamic Bank was up 1.1%.

The United Arab Emirates’ largest sharia-compliant lender could axe more than half its workforce with a planned 500-plus job cuts at newly acquired Noor Bank as part of cost reductions across both lenders, Reuters reported on Sunday citing three sources close to the matter.

Elsewhere, Oman Insurance soared 11.3%, its biggest intraday gain since August, following an agreement to acquire an additional 49% stake in its subsidiary Dubai Starr Sigorta.

The Abu Dhabi index edged up 0.3% supported by a 0.3% gain in First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 14.8% surge in Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA).

The energy firm saw its biggest leap in eight months after announcing that Abu Dhabi Power Corporation plans to take control of it in an asset swap deal. That would create a combined utility with assets worth a total of about 200 billion dirhams ($54.45 billion).

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index traded flat as financials and energy stocks moved sideways. Al Rajhi Bank was up 0.5%, whereas oil giant Saudi Aramco slipped 0.3%.

The stock has been falling since Thursday after Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement said it had launched rockets and drone strikes at Saudi targets, including Aramco oil facilities.

Qatar’s bleu-chip index lost 0.6% with most of its stocks in the red. Qatar Islamic Bank fell 2.1%, while Qatar Insurance eased 1.9%, after reporting a marginal rise in annual profit.

The insurer posted a 651 million riyals ($178.85 million) profit in 2019 compared to 646 million in 2018.

$1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham $1 = 3.6400 Qatar riyals Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond

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