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Ateeq Shariff

MIDEAST STOCKS-Emirates NBD's gains support Dubai, Egypt up on financials

05 Sep 2019

* Emirates NBD extends rally on foreign ownership * All but one property shares slide in Dubai * Emaar falls for the third straight session * Financials strong in Egypt By Ateeq Shariff Sept 5 The Dubai stock market rose on Thursday, mainly helped by its largest lender Emirates NBD, while Egypt rebounded on the back of financials. Dubai's index closed 0.4% up, with Emirates NBD increasing 1.5% and Dubai Islamic Bank, the United Arab Emirates’ largest sharia-compliant lender, adding 0.6%. Emirates NBD has been rising since Monday after it raised its foreign ownership limit to 20% from 5%. But developers capped the gains with Emaar Properties , the emirate's largest listed developer, sliding 0.8% extending losses for a third day in a row. The realtor's chairman said on Wednesday he did not expect a change in the company's business after Dubai's ruler set up a new real estate committee to regulate and control market supply. Dubai's property prices have contracted by 25-35% since a mid-2014 peak and will continue to decline sharply this year and next, as a slowdown in the economy and an oversupply of housing units pose big downside risks to already weak outlook of real estate sector in the Emirate, a Reuters poll showed. The Egyptian blue-chip index was up 0.6% with its biggest bank, Commercial International Bank, rising 1.6%, while Eastern Company advancing 3.3%. Last month, Egypt reported its lowest headline inflation rate in nearly four years, and its central bank cut interest rates by 150 basis points on Thursday. Egypt's index is up 14.6% so far this year, beating most regional markets. The Saudi index slipped 0.1%, driven down by a 0.9% fall in market heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries and a 1% drop in Saudi Telecom Company. Saudi Arabia may have to revise down economic growth estimates as lower crude output and tumbling oil prices take their toll on economic activity, with some economists forecasting a contraction this year in the world's biggest oil exporter, Reuters reported on Wednesday. The Saudi central bank forecast economic growth of at least 2% this year but economists now expect marginal growth at best or a slight shrinkage, its second in two years. The Abu Dhabi index lost 0.2% as Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank ended 1.5% lower. Qatar's index also ended lower to close at 0.4% down with Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's largest lender by assets, falling 1.2% and Qatar Islamic Bank down 1%. SAUDI ARABIA The index slipped 0.1% to 8,055 points ABU DHABI The index lost 0.2% to 5,114 points DUBAI The index gained 0.4% to 2,891 points QATAR The index slid 0.4% to 10,253 points EGYPT The index up 0.6% to 14,933 points BAHRAIN The index added 0.6% to 1,551 points OMAN The index dropped 0.3% to 3,998 points KUWAIT The index was flat at 6,547 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks boost Saudi index; wide sell-off weighs on Egypt

04 Sep 2019

* Saudi index sees biggest gain in nearly 3 months * All Saudi lenders ended higher * In Egypt 23 of thirty stocks slide * Emirates NBD extends gains on foreign ownership * Qatar ends four-day winning streak By Ateeq Shariff Sept 4 Saudi Arabia's stock market rose sharply on Wednesday, with all its banks gaining amid advancing oil prices on positive news from China's services sector, while Egypt's index ended lower as most of its blue-chip stocks dropped. Oil prices were up boosted by a wider market pickup, after three days of losses on lingering concern about a weakening global economy. Global markets rebounded after a private survey showed that activity in China's services sector expanded at the fastest pace in three months in August as new orders rose, prompting the biggest increase in hiring in over a year. In Saudi, the index advanced 1.7%, for its biggest intraday gain since June 10. Al Rajhi Bank was up 2.7% and National Commercial Bank, the country's largest lender, surged 4.7%. Saudi gym network operator Leejam Sports gained 0.6% after it announced a 0.5 riyal ($0.1333) per share dividend for the second quarter. Egypt's blue-chip index dropped 1.1%, with 23 of thirty stocks declining. The country's largest lender Commercial International Bank fell 0.7% and Talat Mostafa climbed 3.2%. Palm Hills Development added 1.3% after the firm reported a higher second quarter profit. In Dubai the index edged up 0.1%, changing its course to close higher, with Emirates NBD gaining 0.7%, extending its gains for a third day in a row. On Monday, the lender had soared 14.9%, reaching its highest level since October 2007, following the bank's announcement it would raise foreign ownership limit to 20% from 5% with immediate effect. The lender also said it intends to raise that limit to 40% in future. Arabtec Holding ended 1.7% higher, the top gainer on the index, after the developer said it is willing to explore possibility of entering into a cooperation agreement in construction sector with Trojan Holding. In a separate disclosure to the bourse the firm also announced appointment of Wail Farsakh as chief operating officer. However, major stocks in real estate division capped the gains with Emaar Properties shedding 0.2% and DAMAC Properties losing 1%. On Monday, Dubai set up a real estate planning commission to regulate projects and avoid competition between semi-government and private firms, in a move designed to address the property market slump. Heavy oversupply in the property market, an important sector of Dubai's economy, has seen residential prices slide by at least a quarter since mid-2014. The Abu Dhabi index added 0.4% led by a 0.9% rise in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 1.4% gain in Aldar Properties In Qatar, the index edged down 0.1%, to snap a four-day winning streak, with market heavyweight Industries Qatar declining 1.5%. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 1.7% to 8,058 points ABU DHABI The index gained 0.4% to 5,125 points DUBAI The index edged up 0.1% to 2,880 points QATAR The index slid 0.1% to 10,295 points EGYPT The index down 1.1% to 14,841 points BAHRAIN The index lost 0.1% to 1,542 points OMAN The index slipped 0.1% to 4,012 points KUWAIT The index was down 0.2% at 6,546 points ($1 = 3.7498 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Frances Kerry)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks slide as funds turn bearish

28 Aug 2019

* All Saudi banks fall * Egypt hits 4-month high * Financials boost Egypt * Emaar aids Dubai By Ateeq Shariff Aug 28 Saudi Arabia's stock market fell sharply on Wednesday with all its banking shares dropping as receding fund inflows dampened investor appetite on a day when second phase of Saudi stocks joined the MSCI emerging markets index. EFG Hermes said in a note on Wednesday the investment case for Saudi banks is no longer 'compelling' in their view on the backdrop of receding passive flows, rates becoming a headwind, and the emergence of credit quality concerns. "We think Saudi can drift lower, before finding a support above the 8k mark. Stock picking would be the name of the game hereon and companies that deliver good results shall outperform the broader Index," said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. Sixty percent of fund mangers said they would decrease their investments in Saudi Arabia, displaying bearishness that has carried over from last month. The Saudi index declined 1.4% with Al Rajhi Bank losing 2% and the country's largest lender National Commercial Bank decreasing 2.4%. A second batch of Saudi shares was added to the MSCI emerging markets index on Wednesday after the country's stocks were first included in the index in May. "Saudi Arabia has attracted $18 billion in foreign portfolio equity inflows so far this year, as foreign investors have significantly increased their exposure to Saudi equities ahead of upgrade," the Institute Of International Finance (IIF) said in a note. IIF added that inflows to Saudi Arabia would have been even higher if not for concerns about global trade and the escalation of regional tensions. Egypt's blue-chip index surged 2.2%, to reach its highest level since May, as most of its shares traded in green territory. Commercial International Bank jumped 4.3% and EFG Hermes was up 6.3%. Middle Eastern funds plan to increase their investments in Egypt and UAE and decrease allocations in Saudi Arabia, while keeping their exposure to other countries in the region at current levels, according to a Reuters poll. In Dubai, the index added 0.2% with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties increasing 1%. Qatari index and Abu Dhabi's index traded flat. In the previous session the duo had risen 2.5% and 2.7% respectively. "It is interesting that both UAE & Qatar saw net foreign inflows yesterday, when the MSCI rebalancing lowered the weights of these markets," Bhandari said. SAUDI ARABIA The index dropped 1.4% to 8,171 points ABU DHABI The index was flat at 5,129 points DUBAI The index rose 0.2% to 2,758 points QATAR The index traded flat at 10,025 points EGYPT The index up 2.2% to 14,596 points BAHRAIN The index lost 0.2% to 1,534 points OMAN The index gained 0.5% to 3,973 points KUWAIT The index was up 0.2% at 6,542 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Frances Kerry)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Major Gulf markets sag on escalating U.S.-China trade war

06 Aug 2019

* Qatar's Mesaieed drops after poor H1 earnings * Nine of eleven Saudi banks decline * SABB decreased after posting Q2 losses * Bank of Sharjah falls the most in over a decade * Egypt Kuwait Holding surges on nod from authorities By Ateeq Shariff and Maqsood alam Aug 6 Major Middle Eastern stock markets fell on Tuesday, led lower by financial stocks and mirroring losses in global markets triggered by the U.S. calling China a currency manipulator in a rapid escalation of the trade war between the two countries. China's central bank said on Tuesday that Washington's decision to label Beijing as a currency manipulator would "severely damage international financial order and cause chaos in financial markets". Qatar’s index, which posted its biggest fall in two years on Monday when it plunged 4.2% and wiped out all this year's gains, slid a further 1.5% to hit a six-session losing streak as 16 of its 20 companies traded lower. Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding declined 5% and Barwa Real Estate dipped 4.4% after the duo reported disappointing first-half earnings. The Saudi Arabian index closed 0.8% lower, continuing its losing streak for a fifth straight session with most of its banking shares falling. National Commercial Bank lost 3%, while Saudi British Bank (SABB) dipped 3.4% after it swung to a second-quarter loss. The latter posted a net loss of 254 million riyals ($67.72 million) in the second quarter compared with a profit of 833 million riyals a year earlier. Buruj Cooperative Insurance Co plunged 6% after it recorded a more than 81% fall in second quarter net profit before zakat which it blamed on a decrease in its net underwriting surplus. Dubai's index edged down 0.1% with Emirates NBD shedding 0.9%, while Emaar Development decreased 3.1% after it reported a 24% drop in first-half net profit. Dubai prime residential property prices fell 1.9% in the first half of the year due to the market being oversupplied, Reuters reported on Monday, citing real estate company Savills . In Abu Dhabi, the index traded flat as losses in the financial and telecommunication sectors eclipsed gains in real estate stocks. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank shed 1.6% while Bank of Sharjah slumped 9.9% to post its biggest intra-day loss since January 2009. The lender on Sunday posted a 24% drop in first-half profit. Aldar Properties closed 4.1% higher ahead of a board meeting on Wednesday at which it will discuss the company's second-quarter financial performance. EFG Hermes forecasts a 7% rise in profit. Egypt's blue-chip index rose 0.4% with Egypt Kuwait Holding gaining 3.2%. The firm obtained a regulatory nod to allocate land to agricultural projects to procure raw materials for its planned compressed wood factory. Ezz Steel surged 6.3% after a subsidiary of the firm on Monday approved the acquisition of Ezz Rolling Mills and Ezz Flat Steel. SAUDI ARABIA The index dropped 0.8% to 8,394 points DUBAI The index lost 0.1% to 2,797 points QATAR The index fell 1.5% to 9,777 points ABU DHABI The index was flat at 5,081 points EGYPT The index rose 0.4% to 13,656 points KUWAIT The index was down 0.3% at 6,707 points OMAN The index gained 0.4% to 3,803 points BAHRAIN The index was flat at 1,545 points ($1 = 3.7508 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff and Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Positive earnings end Saudi losing streak, COMI weighs on Egypt

25 Jul 2019

* Saudi snaps five-day losing streak * SIPCHEM surges on Q2 forecast beat * Jabal Omar gains after posting Q2 profit * Al Rajhi Bank declines as trades ex-dividend * Emaar Properties continues to gain By Ateeq Shariff and Maqsood alam July 25 Strong corporate earnings helped Saudi Arabia's stock market snap five days of losses, while top lender Commercial International Bank weighed on the Egyptian bourse. In Saudi Arabia, the index bounced back 0.4%, with Saudi Arabian Mining Company jumping 6.5%, and Sahara International Petrochemical (SIPCHEM) climbing 5.2% after it reported flat quarterly profit of 210.9 million riyals ($56.2 million) beating EFG Hermes' forecast of 188 million. Jabal Omar Development was up 2.7% after it swung to second quarter profit, which it credited to higher revenue. However, Al Rajhi Bank declined 2.4% as the stock traded ex-dividend. In Egypt, the index dipped 0.8%, with Commercial International Bank (COMI) declining 1.1%. Exchange data on Thursday showed non-Arab foreigners were net sellers of Egyptian stocks. The market has been on the back foot in the last two sessions after a Reuters poll showed that Egypt's economic growth was expected to slow to 5.5% in the fiscal year that began this month, below the government's target. The Qatar index advanced 0.8%, driven by conglomerate Industries Qatar, which rose 2.5%, while Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's largest lender, was up 0.8%. Abu Dhabi's index added 0.6%, an eighth-day of gains on the back of its banking and telecom shares. First Abu Dhabi Bank rose 0.5%. The largest lender in the UAE has mostly traded higher after reporting last week a rise in second-quarter profit and proposing to remove a limit on foreign ownership of its shares. Emirates Telecommunications Group rose 0.6%. The telecoms operator on Tuesday posted a slightly higher second quarter profit. Dana Gas added a further 3.8% and Eshraq Investments, which is also considering doing away with a foreign ownership limit on its shares, climbed 3.3%, its third consecutive gain. In Dubai, the index snapped a three-days winning streak and closed down 0.2%, as financial and telecom sectors slipped. Emirates NBD shed 0.9%, while Emirates Integrated Telecommunications, where an 8.9% year-on-year decline in mobile subscribers for the second-quarter led to a drop in revenue, fell 1.8%. Dubai Islamic Bank shed 0.2%. On Wednesday, research firm Fitch said UAE Islamic banks' asset-quality metrics would remain under pressure, particularly for those with weaker, younger franchises, in 2019. But real estate stocks were up, with Emaar Properties continuing to benefit from signing a project agreement in China. The developer traded 0.4% higher in its fourth straight session of gains. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 0.4% to 8,819 points ABU DHABI The index gained 0.6% to 5,388 points DUBAI The index slid 0.2% to 2,851 points QATAR The index added 0.8% to 10,631 points EGYPT The index fell 0.8% to 13,510 points BAHRAIN The index was up 0.5% to 1,523 points OMAN The index lost 0.3% to 3,755 points KUWAIT The index added 0.7% to 6,707 points ($1 = 3.7503 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff and Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Emaar lifts Dubai to eight-month high; weak earnings hurt Saudi

23 Jul 2019

* Dubai reaches its highest in 8 months * Emaar continues to gain on China deal * Aldar surges after raising annual outlook * Ten of eleven Saudi banks decline * Ma'aden plunges on negative earnings By Ateeq Shariff and Maqsood alam July 23 Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates outperformed the region on Tuesday thanks to their blue-chip developers, while disappointing corporate earnings and falling oil prices dragged Saudi shares lower. Oil slipped to around $63 a barrel on Tuesday as concerns faded for now that rising tensions in the Middle East would escalate and hit oil supplies, compounding the impact of a weaker demand outlook. The Dubai index closed up 2.1%, to reach its highest since mid-November 2018, with real estate shares leading the gains. Dubai's largest listed developer Emaar Properties jumped 4% and its unit Emaar Malls surged 4.6%. The realtor had jumped 2.5% on Monday when it struck a deal with Beijing Daxing International Airport over an $11 billion project that includes residential and leisure facilities. "The UAE-China partnership seems to have fired up the real estate stocks," said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. Emirates NBD added 1.7%. Last week, the Emirate's biggest lender reported an 80% rise in second-quarter net profit boosted by the sale of a stake in Network International and strong non-interest income on foreign exchange gains. In Abu Dhabi, the index was up 0.9%, continuing its wining streak for a sixth day. Aldar properties leapt 6% to its highest since January 2018, after the firm raised its annual profit guidance by 50% for the next three to four years. Emirates Telecommunications Group climbed 1.6% after reporting a slight rise in second-quarter profit, while National Bank Of Ras Al Khaimah traded 4.4% higher after the lender reported a 25.7% surge in profit for the same period. In Saudi Arabia, the main index Tadawul fell 1.3%, sliding for a fourth straight day, with the country's largest lender National Commercial Bank shedding 1.8% and heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries declining 1.5%. Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden) plunged 4.6% after it swung to a second-quarter loss, which it blamed on falling average realised prices of all products except gold. National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) dropped 4.8% after it reported a 75% fall in second-quarter profit. In Qatar, the index lost 0.3%, weighed down by a 0.8% fall in market heavyweight Industries Qatar and a 1.6% drop in Qatar Gas Transport. Egypt and Oman were closed for a public holiday. SAUDI ARABIA The index dropped 1.3% to 8,796 points ABU DHABI The index gained 0.9% to 5,345 points DUBAI The index was up 2.1% to 2,833 points QATAR The index lost 0.3% to 10,511 points BAHRAIN The index slid 0.3% to 1,522 points KUWAIT The index declined 0.3% to 6,640 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff and Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks aid Qatar, Abu Dhabi; other Gulf markets mixed

17 Jul 2019

* Commercial Bank earnings boost Qatar * Emaar Properties drag down Dubai * Dubai Islamic Bank up on Q2 profit * Kuwaiti stocks optimistic on MSCI decision By Ateeq Shariff July 17 Middle East stock markets were mixed on Wednesday with Qatar and Abu Dhabi rising on financial stocks, while property stocks weighed on Dubai. Qatar's index edged up 0.1% with Commercial Bank rising 1.9% after the lender recorded a net profit of 934.1 million riyals ($256.62 million) in the first-half of 2019, versus 855.1 million riyals a year earlier. In Kuwait, the index for the premier market, home to the largest and most liquid companies, rose 0.2%. It has been boosted by MSCI's decision to move Kuwaiti equities to its main emerging-market index in 2020 and is up more than 28% this year, outperforming its Gulf peers. In Abu Dhabi, the market rebounded 0.1%, after shedding in early trading, on the back of its top gainer National Bank of Fujairah, which soared 10.9%, and Emirates Telecommunications, which was up 0.1%. Saudi Arabia's main index traded flat after rising for seven straight sessions following EFG Hermes forecast profit for the kingdom's financial sector would grow 7.6% in the second quarter. Saudi Telecom rose 0.9%, and Saudi Arabian Mining Company closed 1.9% higher. Egypt's blue-chip index fell 0.6% as most of its shares turned red, with the country's largest lender Commercial International Bank shedding 0.9%. Exchange data on Wednesday showed Egyptians and Arabs were net sellers of Egyptian stocks. The Dubai index fell 0.2% pressured by its largest listed developer, Emaar Properties, which was down 1.2%. However, Dubai Islamic bank added 0.2% after it posted a higher second quarter profit, while Emirates NBD traded flat. The Emirate's largest lender rose as much as 1.8% during the day after reporting a 80% surge in second-quarter profit mainly thanks to asset sales and foreign exchange gains. SAUDI ARABIA The index was flat at 9,076 points ABU DHABI The index edged up 0.1% to 5,081 points DUBAI The index lost 0.2% to 2,716 points QATAR The index was up 0.1% at 10,614 points EGYPT The index slid 0.6% to 13,642 points BAHRAIN The index added 0.2% to 1,539 points OMAN The index fell 0.3% to 3,748 points KUWAIT The index gained 0.2% to 6,769 points ($1 = 3.6400 Qatar riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Frances Kerry)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi extends gains, other markets ease ahead of earnings

15 Jul 2019

* Saudi gains for the sixth session * Most property stocks up in Dubai * Abu Dhabi ends 9-day winning streak By Ateeq Shariff July 15 Saudi Arabia's stock market rose for a sixth day with banks leading the rally on the back of a positive earnings outlook, while most other Gulf bourses fell back as investors await corporate results. In Saudi Arabia the Tadawul main index rose 0.3%, continuing its winning streak for the sixth straight session. Lately the index has risen on the back of banks after EFG Hermes forecast a higher second-quarter profit for Saudi lenders. National Commercial bank added 1.2%, while Riyad Bank gained 1.6% a day after it traded ex-dividend. The Dubai index was up 0.4% due to strong real estate stocks, with Emaar Properties rising 1.7%, and Dubai Investments jumping 3.1%. DXB Entertainment closed flat. The theme park company rose as much as 3.4% during the day after reporting a 5% growth in second-quarter visits compared to same period year ago. In Abu Dhabi, the index slipped 0.3%, snapping nine straight days of gains, driven down by the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank, which fell 0.3% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, which dropped 1.2%. Kuwait's index declined 0.8%, its second day of loss following a surge in 11 straight sessions after MSCI's decision to move Kuwaiti equities to its main emerging-market index in 2020. The index is still up more than 27% year-to-date outperforming its Gulf peers. "GCC markets are being impacted by lower volumes in the summer to some extent. We see foreigners increasing their ownership in specific stocks," said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager, Al Mal Capital. "Investors are awaiting full set of second-quarter results to form a clear view of which way the economies are headed and which companies are adapting better to the changing market conditions". Qatar's index traded flat with Qatar National Bank gaining 0.5% and market heavyweight Industries Qatar was down 0.6%. Egypt's blue-chip index slid 0.3% with Commercial International Bank shedding 1.2% and Juhayna Food losing 2.7%. SAUDI ARABIA The index increased 0.3% to 9,044 points ABU DHABI The index lost 0.3% to 5,042 points DUBAI The index rose 0.4% to 2,716 points QATAR The index was flat at 10,596 points EGYPT The index dropped 0.3% to 13,628 points BAHRAIN The index fell 0.2% to 1,534 points OMAN The index declined 0.2% to 3,786 points KUWAIT The index decreased 0.8% at 6,724 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks boost Saudi, while wide sell-off weighs down Egypt

11 Jul 2019

* 10 of 11 Saudi banks climb * Riyad Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi rise ahead of going ex-dividend * Qatar's Nakilat, QNB up on Q2 earnings * Aldar Properties extends gains on contract * Kuwait rises for eleventh straight day By Ateeq Shariff July 11 The Saudi stock market rose on Thursday as nearly all its banks surged ahead of earnings announcements, while Egypt dropped sharply with most blue-chips declining. The Saudi index gained 0.7% with 10 of its 11 banks rising. Riyad Bank rose 1.6% and Banque Saudi Fransi added 0.6% before both go ex-dividend in the next trading session. Investors will be entitled to the next dividend pay-out as of Thursday. Saudi banks are expected to report strong second-quarter earnings. Investment bank EFG Hermes forecast 7.6% growth year-on-year in second-quarter profit for Saudi Arabia's financial sector. Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance surged 1.9% after it won a medical insurance contract worth over 5% of its revenue last year. Egypt's blue-chip index decreased 1.4% as most of its shares turned red, with Commercial International Bank shedding 1.6% and Ezz Steel slumping 7.7% after swinging to a first quarter loss earlier this week. Exchange data on Thursday showed non-Arab foreigners were net sellers of Egyptian stocks. In Qatar, the index reversed course to rise 0.6% with Qatar Insurance up 3.1%, while Qatar Gas Transport (Nakilat) rose 2.2% after posting 7% growth in first-half net profit. The Gulf's largest bank, Qatar National Bank (QNB) , edged up 0.2% after the lender reported a 4% increase in first-half net profit. The Abu Dhabi index increased 0.5%, with First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country's largest lender, ending 1.1% higher and Aldar Properties up 2%. On Wednesday, the property developer was awarded 5 billion dirhams ($1.36 billion) of development projects from the Abu Dhabi government. Kuwait's index closed 0.1% higher, as National Bank of Kuwait gained 1.1% and Mobile Telecommunications Co rose 1.9%. The index ended the session in positive territory for the eleventh straight session, triggered by MSCI's decision to move Kuwaiti equities to its main emerging-market index in 2020. Kuwait has outperformed its Gulf peers in anticipation of the MSCI move and is up more than 28% year-to-date. The Dubai index eased 0.1% after rising as much as 0.6% earlier in the day, hurt by a 2.5% fall in Emaar Malls and a 0.4% drop in Emaar Properties. SAUDI ARABIA The index increased 0.7% to 8,968 points ABU DHABI The index rose 0.5% to 5,052 points DUBAI The index shed 0.1% to 2,686 points QATAR The index added 0.6% to 10,613 points EGYPT The index dropped 1.4% to 13,814 points BAHRAIN The index lost 0.2% to 1,537 points OMAN The index declined 0.1% to 3,808 points KUWAIT The index was up 0.1% at 6,777 points ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Property firms bolster Dubai, oil prices lift Saudi

10 Jul 2019

* Emaar Properties highest since May * Aldaar Properties up on government projects * Nine of 11 Saudi banks gain * Qatar's QNB posts 4% rise in H1 profit * Kuwait surges for tenth day By Ateeq Shariff July 10 Dubai stocks rose sharply on Wednesday as all real estate shares gained, while banks drove the Saudi market higher amid rising oil prices and after EFG Hermes forecast higher second quarter profit for Saudi lenders. Oil prices rose more than 2% after industry data showed U.S. inventories fell more than expected and as major U.S. producers evacuated rigs in the Gulf of Mexico before a storm. The Dubai index closed 1.2% higher with Emaar Properties, its largest listed-developer, surging 3.5% to its highest in two months. Emaar Properties has been rising since Monday after its Egyptian subsidiary Emaar Misr Development initially agreed with El Nasr Housing and Development to settle a dispute on Uptown Cairo land. The Saudi index added 0.6% with Al Rajhi Bank rising 0.7% and National Commercial Bank increasing 1.4%. Investment bank EFG Hermes predicted 7.6% growth year-on-year in second quarter profit for the kingdom's financial sector. The kingdom's largest food products company Savola Group moved 0.8% up. On Tuesday, the firm said it had raised 1 billion riyals ($266.65 million) in Islamic bonds. In Qatar, the index increased 0.5% with Qatar National Bank adding 1.7%. The Gulf's largest lender posted a 4% increase in first-half net profit after the market closed. Kuwait's index was up 0.6%, continuing its winning streak for the 10th straight session triggered by an MSCI decision that it would move Kuwaiti equities to its main emerging market index in 2020. Kuwait has outperformed its Gulf peers in anticipation of the MSCI move, gaining over 28% year-to-date. The Abu Dhabi index edged up 0.1%, led by a 1.2% rise in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, and a 2% increase in Aldar Properties. The latter was awarded 5 billion dirhams ($1.36 billion) of development projects from the Abu Dhabi government. Bank of Sharjah bounced back 5.5%, ending three straight sessions of losses set off after posting a steep fall in first-quarter profit. Egypt's blue-chip index declined 0.6% with Eastern Company dropping 2.3%, while Ezz Steel plunged 9.7% after earlier this week swinging into first quarter loss. SAUDI ARABIA The index increased 0.6% to 8,906 points ABU DHABI The index edged up 0.1% to 5,027 points DUBAI The index rose 1.2% to 2,687 points QATAR The index added 0.5% to 10,551 points EGYPT The index down 0.6% to 14,013 points BAHRAIN The index gained 0.1% to 1,540 points OMAN The index declined 0.3% to 3,813 points KUWAIT The index was up 0.6% at 6,767 points ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) ($1 = 3.7503 riyals) ($1 = 16.6125 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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