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Ateeq Shariff

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai ends 10-day rally, most Gulf markets little changed

11 Apr 2019

* FAB continues to slide after Qatar's lawsuit * Saudi's Tasnee gains after Cristal-Tronox deal completion * ADNOC Distribution drops on going ex-dividend * Qatar National Bank falls after Q1 results By Ateeq Shariff April 11 Dubai's stock market slid on Thursday as most of its financial shares dropped, snapping a 10-day winning streak, while other major Gulf markets were little changed. The Dubai index fell 0.6 percent, led by a 1.7 percent fall in Emirates NBD, ahead of its board meeting scheduled on April 16 to approve its first-quarter financial statement. On Wednesday, the lender said it would receive 554.5 million pounds ($725.6 million) from the sale of a stake in Network International through a secondary listing of the shares in London. Emirates NBD sold 127.5 million shares in the payment processor, reducing its stake to 25.5 percent. Mashreq Bank dropped 6.8 percent. Last week, the bank's retail head said the bank would close 12 branches as it makes a shift towards online banking. Qatar's blue-chip index was up 0.2 percent, with Qatar Islamic Bank increasing 2.5 percent to its highest level in over a decade. Qatar National Bank dipped 0.6 percent. The lender reported its first-quarter results on Tuesday, missing EFG Hermes' forecast. The Abu Dhabi index closed 0.1 percent lower, as First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) fell 0.7 percent. United Arab Emirate's largest lender, FAB, was among the three banks against which Qatar filed lawsuits on Monday, accusing them of overseas currency manipulation that caused billions of dollars of damage to the Gulf state's economy. During after-hours trading, FAB said it had received regulatory approval to increase its foreign ownership limit to 40 percent from 25. ADNOC Distribution dropped 3.2 percent as the stock traded ex-dividend. Saudi Arabia's index edged up 0.1 percent, with Jareer Marketing gaining 3.2 percent. National Industrialization Company (Tasnee) was up 2.8 percent, to its highest since August 2018. Tasnee said that its unit Cristal had completed the sale of its titanium dioxide business to Tronox Holdings. Cristal will receive a cash consideration of $1.67 billion and a 24 percent equity stake in Tronox. The Egyptian index traded flat with Egypt Kuwait Holding declining 4.8 percent. SAUDI ARABIA The index was up 0.1 pct to 9,088 points ABU DHABI The index slipped 0.1 pct to 5,052 points DUBAI The index fell 0.6 pct to 2,790 points QATAR The index added 0.2 pct to 10,259 points EGYPT The index was flat at 15,106 points BAHRAIN The index lost 0.3 pct to 1,438 points KUWAIT The index gained 0.2 pct to 6,126 points ($1 = 0.7642 pounds) ($1 = 3.6405 Qatar riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai nears 5-month high, most major Gulf markets rise

10 Apr 2019

* Saudi Basic Industries drops after going ex-dividend * Nine of 10 Saudi banks gain * National Agriculture Marketing up on capital increase plan * Qatar's lawsuit pulls down FAB By Ateeq Shariff April 10 Dubai's stock market rose for the tenth straight session on Wednesday, lifted by its financial shares, while Abu Dhabi was pulled lower by its top lender First Abu Dhabi Bank. The Dubai index gained 0.2 percent, hovering around five-month high, with Emaar Properties adding 1.2 percent and Mashreq Bank jumping 5.3 percent. This month, the latter's retail banking head said it would close 12 of its branches by June as it shifts some of its business online. Emirates NBD said it would sell 127.5 million shares in Network International for a total of 554.5 million pounds ($725.2 million) through a secondary listing of the shares on the London Stock Exchange. The bank continues to hold a 25.5 percent stake in the payments processor. The stock was flat. Saudi Arabia's index increased 0.3 percent, with most of its banking shares gaining. Riyad Bank was up 2.2 percent and Al Jazira Bank increased 1.3 percent. National Agriculture Marketing Company jumped 6.8 percent. Its board proposed a rights issue to raise 150 million riyals ($40 million). On Wednesday, the company was fined 20,000 riyals by the Capital Markets Authority for a regulatory rule violation. But market heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries dropped 1.4 percent as it traded ex-dividend. The Abu Dhabi index fell 0.4 percent, led by 1.1 percent fall in First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and 1.6 percent slide in Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. Last week, the banks denied they were in merger talks after a news report said the emirate was considering combining them. On Monday, Qatar filed lawsuits against three banks including First Abu Dhabi Bank, accusing the trio of overseas currency manipulation which caused billions of dollars of damage to Qatar's economy. Qatar's blue-chip index edged up 0.2 percent, lifted by a 1.9 percent gain in its largest sharia-compliant lender Qatar Islamic Bank. The Egyptian index moved 0.1 percent higher, partly on back of its blue-chip stock Talaat Mostafa Group Holding . The realtor was up 1.2 percent. SAUDI ARABIA The index was up 0.3 pct to 9,077 points ABU DHABI The index fell 0.4 pct to 5,058 points DUBAI The index was up 0.2 pct at 2,808 points QATAR The index added 0.2 pct to 10,236 points EGYPT The index edged up 0.1 pct to 15,107 points BAHRAIN The index increased 0.1 pct to 1,443 points OMAN The index rose 0.3 pct to 3,984 points KUWAIT The index gained 0.2 pct to 6,117 points ($1 = 0.7646 pounds) ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) ($1 = 3.7503 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai continues rally, most major Gulf markets mixed

09 Apr 2019

* Dubai Investments nears 5-month high * First Abu Dhabi Bank slides after Qatar's lawsuit * Saudi's Walaa soars on FY dividend, capital increase * Kuwait index retreats from highest level since 2016 By Ateeq Shariff April 9 Dubai's stock market edged up on Tuesday stretching its rally for the ninth consecutive session, aided by its industrial and financial shares, while trading was mixed across other major Gulf markets. The Dubai index closed 0.2 percent higher, with Emirates Integrated Telecommunications rising 1.6 percent. Dubai Investments rose 2 percent to reach its highest level since November. On Sunday, the firm signed an $86 million contract with ABB Industries to commission a new Dubai Electricity and Water Authority substation. United Arab Emirates' Finablr said it expects to register to launch an initial public offering in London. The payments and foreign exchange firm said that the deal could raise at least $200 million. The Abu Dhabi index traded flat with First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country's largest lender, slipping 0.7 percent. Qatar filed lawsuits against three lenders including First Abu Dhabi Bank, accusing them of causing damage to the tune of billions of dollars to its economy by what it called overseas currency manipulation in the wake of an Arab boycott in 2017. National Bank Of Fujairah jumped 11.9 percent. On Sunday, the lender said that it launched a representative office in Antwerp. Saudi Arabia's index inched up 0.1 percent, with Walaa Cooperative Insurance surging 9.9 percent after the insurer announced a full-year dividend of 1 riyal ($0.27) per share and proposed a capital increase to 528 million riyals from 440 million by way of a bonus shares issue. United Electronics Co gained 4.6 percent after posting a rise in its first-quarter net profit and sales. The Qatari index edged down 0.1 percent, led by a 2.8 percent fall in Mesaieed Petrochemical. Qatar National Bank reported a first-quarter net profit of 3.56 billion riyals ($978 million), a 4 percent rise. At the time of the announcement the market was shut and the stock was flat. The Egyptian index slipped 0.2 percent as most of its blue-chip stocks pressured the index. Egypt Kuwait Holding was down 1.1 percent and Palm Hills Developments closed 4.6 percent lower. Kuwait's index dropped 1.6 percent to retreat from its highest level since 2016, as it was pulled down by bank shares. Kuwait Finance House fell 2.7 percent and Ahli United Bank declined 2.8 percent. SAUDI The index was up 0.1 pct to 9,048 points ARABIA ABU DHABI The index was flat at 5,076 points DUBAI The index rose 0.2 pct to 2,802 points QATAR The index slid 0.1 pct to 10,218 points EGYPT The index fell 0.2 pct to 15,089 points BAHRAIN The index declined 0.4 pct to 1,441 points OMAN The index was flat at 3,972 points KUWAIT The index dropped 1.6 pct to 6,105 points ($1 = 3.6400 Qatar riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Keith Weir)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks lift Saudi, Dubai continues to rally on Emirates NBD deal

04 Apr 2019

* Al Rajhi Bank surges after capital increase approval * Dubai continues winning streak for the sixth session * Emirates NBD hovers around 11-year high * Orascom Investment rises on FY result, Nile Sugar acquisition By Ateeq Shariff April 4 Saudi Arabia's stock market marked its ninth session of gains on Thursday, led by banking shares, while Emirates NBD's deal to buy Turkey's Denizbank lifted Dubai's main index. The Saudi index was up 0.9 percent, led by a 3.1 percent rise in Al Rajhi Bank and a 2.3 percent gain in the largest lender National Commercial bank. Al Rajhi Bank's shareholders approved an increase in its capital to 25 billion riyals ($6.7 billion) from 16.25 billion riyals through issuing bonus shares. Sahara Petrochemical rose 0.4 percent after it announced an amendment to the proposed merger of equals with Saudi International Petrochemical Company (SIPCHEM). The company said CEO Saleh Mohammed Bahmdan will be appointed as chief executive of the combined company, and SIPCHEM's Chief Executive Abdullah Saif Alsaadoon will be appointed chief operating officer of the group. SIPCHEM was up 0.3 percent. Middle East Healthcare added 2.5 percent, a day after the company said its Saudi German Hospital project was 84 percent complete as of March 31, and that it expects its completion by June. The Dubai index closed 0.6 percent higher, with Emirates NBD adding 4 percent, trading around its highest level in more than a decade. On Wednesday, the bank said it will buy Denizbank for 15.48 billion lira ($2.7 billion) from Russia's state-owned Sberbank. The offer is a roughly 20 percent discount to a previously agreed price after a steep fall in the Turkish lira. Shuaa Capital jumped 3.8 percent. Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG) is set to take over Shuaa in a reverse merger, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday. But Emirates Integrated Telecommunications (du) slipped 2.8 as the stock traded ex-dividend. The Egyptian blue-chip index gained 0.3 percent with Global Telecom Holding adding 3.7 percent and Heliopolis Co For Housing and Development rising 5.8 percent. On Tuesday, Heliopolis' board approved the sale of multiple pieces of land. Orascom Investment Holding inched up 0.7 percent after its full-year net profit nearly doubled. In a separate bourse filing, the firm said that it had negotiated with shareholders to buy 100 percent of the issued share capital of Nile Sugar for 3.59 billion Egyptian pounds ($207 million). In Qatar, the index gained 0.3 percent, with Qatar Gas Transport (Nakilat) jumping 4.5 percent to its highest in over two years. CI Capital on Tuesday raised its target price on Nakilat to 24 riyals ($6.59), rating the stock as 'overweight'. Abu Dhabi's index slid 0.3 percent with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank declining 3.2 percent. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank outperformed with a 2.5 percent rise. The bank denied that it was in merger talks with First Abu Dhabi Bank after a news report said the emirate was considering combining them. First Abu Dhabi edged 0.1 percent lower. The Kuwaiti and Omani markets were closed for public holidays. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 0.9 pct to 9,064 points ABU DHABI The index slipped 0.3 pct to 5,032 points DUBAI The index added 0.6 pct to 2,776 points QATAR The index gained 0.3 pct to 10,190 points EGYPT The index was up 0.3 pct at 15,248 points BAHRAIN The index was up 0.1 pct at 1,419 points ($1 = 5.6420 liras) ($1 = 3.6405 Qatar riyals) ($1 = 3.7505 riyals) ($1 = 17.3100 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Emirates NBD jumps to 11-year high, lifts Dubai

03 Apr 2019

* Emirates NBD hits highest level since Feb 2008 on Denizbank deal * All Saudi banks gain * Middle East Health Care rises on project update * Heliopolis at six-month high on prospect of land sale By Ateeq Shariff April 3 Dubai's stock market rose on Wednesday, lifted by gains in top lender Emirates NBD after it agreed to buy Turkey's Denizbank, while Saudi Arabian stocks climbed as banks rose across the board. The Dubai index gained 1.1 percent, with Emirates NBD rising 6.1 percent in its highest trading volume in a year, with 8.8 million shares changing hands. The bank will buy Denizbank for 15.48 billion lira ($2.8 billion) after reaching a new agreement with Russia's state-owned Sberbank. The offer is a roughly 20 percent discount to a previously agreed price, after a steep fall in the Turkish lira. "Even though the deal will destroy some shareholder value (reflecting ENBD's desire to enter a new market rather than showing M&A discipline), the unlocking of value through the foreign ownership limit should be a multiple of that," Arqaam Capital said, rating the stock "strong buy". The Saudi index added 0.6 percent, with market heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corp adding 1.1 percent. Last week, the world's largest oil producer Saudi Aramco agreed to buy a 70 percent stake in the firm from the Public Investment Firm (PIF) for $69.1 billion. Banque Saudi Fransi rose 1.8 percent. On Sunday, the lender announced an early redemption of its 2 billion riyals ($533 million) tier 2 sukuk due in 2024. Middle East Healthcare added 0.9 percent after saying its Saudi German Hospital project was 84 percent complete as of March 31, and expects its completion by June. The Egyptian blue-chip index edged up 0.2 percent with Heliopolis Co For Housing and Development up 5.8 percent to a six-month high, after its board approved the sale of multiple pieces of land. In Qatar, the index slid 0.4 percent as Qatar National Bank, the largest bank by assets in the Middle East and Africa, declined 1 percent and heavyweight Industries Qatar lost 0.8 percent. Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding gave up some gains from the last few sessions, dropping 1 percent. The stock had risen after its inclusion in the MSCI emerging market index in May, expected to result in passive inflows of $230 million, according to Arqaam Capital. Abu Dhabi's index edged down 0.1 percent, with Emirates Telecommunications Group sliding 0.5 percent. But Abu Dhabi National Oil Co's (ADNOC) fuel distribution unit ADNOC Distribution climbed 6.1 percent, its biggest gain since its listing. ADNOC set its March retroactive selling price for benchmark Murban crude at $68.60 per barrel, the highest in five months. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 0.6 pct to 8,985 points ABU DHABI The index slipped 0.1 pct to 5,049 points DUBAI The index added 1.1 pct to 2,760 points QATAR The index lost 0.4 pct to 10,162 points EGYPT The index was up 0.2 pct at 15,198 points KUWAIT The index gained 1.2 pct to 6,138 points OMAN The index dropped 0.5 pct to 3,940 points BAHRAIN The index was up 1.1 pct to 1,419 points ($1=3.7503 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by David Holmes)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Emaar, Emirates lift Dubai; petrochemicals aid Saudi

02 Apr 2019

* Emirates NBD lingers around 10-month high * Dubai's Shuaa jumps on reverse merger report * Kuwait index rises to highest level in 3 years * Mesaieed Petrochemical gains on MSCI index inclusion By Ateeq Shariff and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan April 2 Dubai's stock market rose for the fourth straight session to a four-month high on Tuesday, lifted mainly by gains in heavyweights Emaar Properties and Emirates NBD, while petrochemical stocks buoyed Saudi Arabia. The Dubai index closed 1.2 percent higher with Emaar Properties gaining 3.2 percent, while its largest lender Emirates NBD was up 2.4 percent, as one of its businesses will list on the London Stock Exchange. "Our channel checks suggest foreigners have been accumulating Emaar. Also, it seems the stock had some favourable moves on technical charts. In banking, Emirates is seeing some interest on back of the IPO of its affiliate," Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital said. "We have been positive on Dubai names since the beginning of the year, mainly on account of valuations," Bhandari said, adding that they expect the real estate market to be stable through the course of the year. Payments processor Network International said shares in its initial public offering (IPO) would be priced between 395 pence and 465p each, implying a valuation of between 1.9 billion pounds and 2.3 billion ($2.5-3.0 billion). Emirates NBD is the major shareholder in the firm, holding about 51 percent. Shuaa Capital jumped 7 percent, to its highest since mid-December 2018. Abu Dhabi Financial Group is set to take over Shuaa in a reverse merger, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday. The Saudi index was up 0.4 percent, with Saudi Basic Industries gaining 0.8 percent and National Industrialization Co climbing 4.8 percent. Oil prices hit a 2019 high above $69 a barrel, with Brent crude touching $69.50, the highest since mid-November. Saudi International Petrochemical Co rose 1.2 percent. The firm appointed Abdullah Bin Saif Al-Saadoon as its chief executive and managing director. The Egyptian blue-chip index rose 1.4 percent with Commercial International Bank adding 4.3 percent. El Sewedy Electric increased 3.1 percent. On Monday, the firm said its consortium with Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems was awarded a contract worth about $550 million from the Sharjah Electricity And Water Authority. In Qatar, the index added 0.5 percent, led by a 4.8 percent rise in Qatar Insurance, its biggest intraday gain in five months. Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding rose 3.8 percent to its highest since August 2015. The firm is eligible for inclusion in MSCI's emerging market index in May, which is expected to result in passive inflows of $230 million, Arqaam Capital said in a note on Monday. Kuwait's index rose 1 percent to its highest level since 2016, boosted by bank shares. National Bank of Kuwait added 1.1 percent and Ahli United Bank increased 1.6 percent. Abu Dhabi's index traded flat with energy firm Dana Gas rising 2.1 percent. On Sunday the company said it had received $19 million from Egypt as a part of the government's efforts to reduce monies owed to zero in 2019. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 0.4 pct to 8,935 points ABU DHABI The index was flat at 5,054 points DUBAI The index gained 1.2 pct to 2,730 points QATAR The index added 0.5 pct to 10,201 points EGYPT The index was up 1.4 pct at 15,166 points KUWAIT The index rose 1 pct to 6,064 points OMAN The index dropped 0.5 pct to 3,940 points BAHRAIN The index was up 0.2 pct at 1,404 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Heinrich)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai hits 4-month high, top lender elevates Egypt

01 Apr 2019

* Emirates NBD hits highest level since May 2018 * El Sewedy gains after government contract * Saudi hovers around 4-year high * Saudi insurers CHUBB, Al Sagr climb on FY results By Ateeq Shariff April 1 Dubai's stock market hit a four-month high on Monday, partly lifted by its largest lender Emirates NBD as one of its businesses prepares to list on the London Stock Exchange, while Egypt was boosted by its top lender Commercial International Bank. The Dubai index rose 2.4 percent with Emirates NBD climbing 4.5 percent to a 10-month high. Payments processor Network International said shares in its Initial Public Offering (IPO) would be priced at between 395 pence and 465 pence each, implying a valuation of between 1.9 billion pounds and 2.3 billion pounds ($2.5-3.0 billion). Emirates NBD is the major shareholder in the firm, holding about 51 percent. The IPO will comprise the secondary sale of shares by Emirates and WP/GA Dubai IV B.V. Emaar Properties, Dubai's largest listed-developer, rose 4 percent and Dubai Financial Market gained 6 percent in active trade. The latter signed a memorandum of understanding with National Bonds Corp (NBC) to establish efficient trading of NBC's sharia-compliant savings bonds through its brokerage firms. The Egyptian blue-chip index rose 1.5 percent with Commercial International Bank increasing 5.3 percent. El Sewedy Electric closed 4.1 percent higher. The company said its consortium with Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems was awarded a contract worth about $550 million from the Sharjah Electricity And Water Authority. The Saudi index continued its winning streak for the sixth straight session, gaining 0.9 percent, to reach its highest level since August 2015. Al Rajhi Bank added 1.9 percent and National Commercial Bank, the country's largest lender, rose 1.8 percent. CHUBB Arabia Cooperative Insurance added 4.4 percent after posting a jump in its full-year net profit and gross written premiums. Al Sagr Cooperative Insurance was also up 0.9 percent after reporting a rise in its full-year net profit. In Qatar, the index added 0.5 percent with Commercial Bank adding 4.4 percent, reaching its highest level in nearly three and a half year. On March 20, the lender's shareholders approved the split of par value of its shares to be one riyal instead of 10 riyals. Qatar Fuel and Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding are now eligible for MSCI's emerging market index inclusion in May, which is expected to result in passive inflows of $240 million and $230 million respectively, Arqaam Capital said. Mesaieed closed 1.4 percent higher while Qatar Fuel traded flat. Abu Dhabi's index slid 0.4 percent with the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank declining 0.5 percent and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank was down 0.8 percent for the third session after it traded ex-dividend on Thursday. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 0.9 pct to 8,897 points ABU DHABI The index fell 0.4 pct to 5,055 points DUBAI The index jumped 2.4 pct to 2,697 points QATAR The index added 0.5 pct to 10,155 points EGYPT The index was up 1.5 pct at 14,954 points KUWAIT The index gained 0.3 pct to 6,003 points OMAN The index dropped 0.6 pct to 3,961 points BAHRAIN The index slid 0.9 pct to 1,400 points ($1 = 3.7503 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi's SABIC loses steam, ex-dividend stocks hit Abu Dhabi

28 Mar 2019

* SABIC retreats from 5-month high * 24 of 30 stocks on Egypt index rise * Aldar, Etisalat slide on going ex-dividend * QIIB hits 3-year high after foreign ownership limit increase By Ateeq Shariff and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan March 28 Saudi Arabia's stock market rose on Thursday aided by its banks, even as Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) gave up most of its early gains spurred by news of Aramco's purchase of a large stake in the petrochemicals group. Abu Dhabi edged down as some stocks traded ex-dividend. Saudi Arabia's index was up 0.3 percent with Al Rajhi Bank adding 1 percent and National Commercial Bank rising 2 percent. Heavyweight SABIC lost 0.3 percent after gaining as much as 2.7 percent earlier in the session. The world's largest oil producer Saudi Aramco agreed to buy a 70 percent stake in the firm from the Public Investment Firm (PIF) for $69.1 billion. The blockbuster deal is likely to be a "long-term game changer" for SABIC, but has limited upside in the near term because of the muted outlook from lower petrochemical prices, Arqaam Capital said. Saudi banks and telecoms were the best performing sectors in the fourth-quarter of 2018, but results were below expectations due to petrochemical firms missing earnings estimates by 41 percent and consumer names reporting 62 percent below forecasts, SICO research said in a note. The Abu Dhabi index dipped 0.2 percent, led by a 5.7 percent drop in Aldar Properties and a 0.8 percent slide in Emirates Telecommunications Group as they traded ex-dividend. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank also shed 1.5 percent after trading ex-dividend. The Egyptian blue-chip index gained 0.8 percent, led by a 1.8 percent increase in Egypt's largest lender Commercial International Bank and a 2.2 percent rise in Eastern Company. EFG Hermes closed 1.7 percent higher after its unit divested a 49 percent stake in wind energy projects across four European countries. Dubai's index increased 0.7 percent with Dubai Islamic Bank, the United Arab Emirates' largest sharia-compliant lender, gaining 2.5 percent and the country's largest lender Emirates NBD adding 0.5 percent. Network International Holdings said that global payments giant Mastercard will make a $300 million investment in its planned initial public offering. Emirates NBD owns a 51 percent stake in the company, which is the largest payments processor in the Middle East and Africa. The Qatar index gained 0.4 percent with market heavyweight Industries Qatar increasing 1.4 percent and Qatar Gas Transport rising 4 percent. The latter said it has established a joint venture with Maran Ventures in which it will hold a 60 percent stake. Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) rose 3.2 percent, reaching its highest since November 2015. On Monday, the lender's shareholders approved an increase in its foreign ownership limit to 49 percent from 25 percent. SAUDI ARABIA The index added 0.3 pct to 8,789 points ABU DHABI The index lost 0.2 pct to 5,101 points DUBAI The index rose 0.7 pct to 2,631 points QATAR The index was up 0.4 pct at 10,146 points EGYPT The index gained 0.8 pct to 14,666 points KUWAIT The index edged up 0.1 pct to 5,958 points OMAN The index dropped 1 pct to 4,006 points BAHRAIN The index was flat at 1,414 points ($1 = 3.7502 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Blue-chips lift Qatar, Banks boost Saudi

27 Mar 2019

* 18 of 20 stocks on Qatar index rise * Qatar's Mesaieed at its highest in 5-months * Kingdom holding, Saudi Telecom gain after Careem deal * Egypt's GTH slides after extending maturity of credit facility By Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Ateeq Shariff March 27 Qatar's stock market rose on Wednesday, lifted by shareholder approval for an increase in foreign ownership limits at Qatar Fuel and Mesaieed Petrochemical, while Saudi Arabia rose on the back of its banks. The Qatar index rose 1.7 percent, with 18 of 20 stocks increasing. Qatar Fuel added 4.2 percent and Mesaieed Petrochemical was up 5.8 percent. Last year, their parent company, state-owned energy firm, Qatar Petroleum said it would raise the foreign ownership limit in its listed-units to up to 49 percent after limits on foreign ownership were amended. The increase in foreign ownership limit was approved by the companies' shareholders in their annual general meeting. Qatar Fuel and Mesaieed could also be included in the MSCI emerging market index in May, which will bring in passive inflows of $231 million and $197 million, respectively, Arqaam Capital said in a note. "This is primarily local as well as global investors, taking an active allocation in the names prior to their index inclusions and given the lack of liquidity in some of these names, this has led to the significant rally in prices," said Rami Jamal, portfolio manager at Amwal in Doha. Qatar International Islamic Bank rose 1.4 percent. On Monday, the lender's shareholders also approved an increase in its foreign ownership limit to 49 percent from 25 percent. Saudi Arabia's index added 1 percent with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 2.3 percent and National Commercial Bank , the country's largest lender, rising 2.9 percent. Kingdom Holding and Saudi Telecom rose as they benefited from Uber's deal to buy Middle East's Careem. Kingdom Holding increased 0.7 percent after selling its stake in the ride-hailing app for 1.25 billion riyals ($333.31 million), while Saudi Telecom rose 0.4 percent after saying it expects to receive around $274 million from the deal. Last week, Saudi entered FTSE Russell's emerging-market index, and this year will join the MSCI emerging market benchmark. Foreign investors in the Saudi market seem to have increased again as the first phase of its inclusion appeared to go seamlessly and as foreign investor concerns over locals oversupplying the market appear to have partially abated, Arqaam Capital said. The Egyptian blue-chip index dropped 0.6 percent, led by a 2.2 percent decline in Egypt's largest lender Commercial International Bank and a 4.5 percent fall in El Sewedy Electric. Global Telecom Holding fell 3.1 percent. The telecom operator said its board extended maturity of its $100 million revolving credit facility from VEON. Madinet Nasr slipped 2.8 percent. The firm approved the sale of its non-residential land plot for 184.8 million Egyptian pounds ($10.69 million). The Abu Dhabi index slipped 0.3 percent with the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank losing 0.8 percent and Emirates Telecommunications Group dropping 0.2 percent. Dubai's index was flat, with its largest listed-developer Emaar Properties sliding 1.7 percent. SAUDI ARABIA The index was up 1 pct at 8,766 points ABU DHABI The index fell 0.3 pct to 5,109 points DUBAI The index was flat at 2,614 points QATAR The index gained 1.7 pct to 10,105 points EGYPT The index was down 0.6 pct at 14,555 points KUWAIT The index rose 0.9 pct to 5,951 points OMAN The index edged down 0.1 pct to 4,047 points BAHRAIN The index added 0.4 pct to 1,413 points ($1 = 3.7503 riyals) ($1 = 17.2800 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Gareth Jones)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Uber-Careem deal boosts Saudi, real estate hurts Dubai

26 Mar 2019

* Al Tayyar hits 11-month high after Careem deal * Oman's index has worst one-day fall since 2016 * Dubai's real estate stocks all slide * Tihama Advertising adds after capital increase proposal By Ateeq Shariff March 26 Saudi shares rose on Tuesday boosted by a 10 percent surge in travel operator Al Tayyar Group, a shareholder in ride hailing app Careem which Uber has agreed to buy. Tayyar said it was expecting to make a gross profit of 1.78 billion riyals ($474.64 million) from the transaction, supporting a 0.1 percent gain in the Saudi index. Dubai's index fell 0.7 percent, weighed down by declines across its real estate stocks. Dubai's largest listed-developer Emaar Properties lost 2.1 percent and its unit Emaar Malls dropped 1.7 percent. Union Properties slid 0.8 percent after surging to its biggest intraday gain in nearly two years on Monday. Dubai Financial Market said that a direct deal worth 60 million dirhams ($16.34 million) was implemented on 155.5 million shares of Union Properties. DFM edged up 0.1 percent. In Saudi Arabia, Tihama Advertising gained 0.4 percent after proposing a capital increase to raise 100 million riyals through a rights issue. The Egyptian blue-chip index dipped 0.2 percent, pulled down by financial and consumer stocks. Egypt's largest lender Commercial International Bank slipped 0.8 percent and Qalaa Holdings was down 2.2 percent. Qatar's index slipped 0.1 percent, led by a 1.6 percent decline in Qatar National Bank, the largest bank by assets in the Middle East and Africa, and a 0.9 percent drop in Qatar Islamic Bank. The latter completed an international bond issuance of $750 million sukuk last week. Lender Masraf Al Rayan was down 0.6 percent. It has hired banks before a potential sale of U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk, or Islamic bonds, Reuters reported. The Abu Dhabi index added 0.2 percent with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Union National Bank both gaining 1.3 percent. Al Hilal Bank has slashed about 160 jobs ahead of a three-way merger with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Union National Bank, Reuters had reported, citing sources. Oman's index fell 1.9 percent to its worst day in a little over three years, weighed down by its biggest stocks. National Bank of Oman plunged 9.3 percent and Bank Muscat declined 9.1 percent. SAUDI ARABIA The index edged up 0.1 pct to 8,679 points ABU DHABI The index rose 0.2 pct to 5,127 points DUBAI The index fell 0.7 pct to 2,615 points QATAR The index edged down 0.1 pct to 9,935 points EGYPT The index was down 0.2 pct at 14,637 points KUWAIT The index lost 0.7 pct to 5,900 points OMAN The index dropped 1.9 pct to 4,049 points BAHRAIN The index slid 0.6 pct to 1,408 points ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) ($1 = 3.7502 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru)

World News

Afghan communications ministry attacked, seven killed

At least seven people were killed in an attack on the Afghan communications ministry in central Kabul on Saturday, breaking months of relative calm in the capital and underlining the continued security threats despite efforts to open peace talks with the Taliban.