January 10, 2019 / 1:09 PM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar hits highest in nearly 2 years, financials lift most Gulf markets

    * Qatar index at its highest level since March 2017
    * 14 of 20 stocks on Qatar index rise 
    * Saudi's Al Khodari gains after plan to cut accumulated

    By Abinaya Vijayaraghavan
    Jan 10 (Reuters) - The Qatar stock market hit its highest
level in nearly two years on Thursday, as financial stocks
boosted most major Gulf bourses ahead of corporate earnings
announcements next week.
    Saudi's main index gained 0.8 percent, aided by a
1.6 percent rise in Al Rajhi Bank and a 1.2 percent
increase in Saudi Basic Industries.
    Contractor Al Khodari rose 1.7 percent after its
board proposed to use its statutory reserve of 71 million riyals
 ($19 million) to reduce a part of its losses. The proposal
seeks to cut accumulated losses to 202 million riyals from 273
    Egypt's blue-chip index was flat, with El Sewedy
Electric adding 2 percent and Commercial International
Bank inching up 0.1 percent. Egypt's biggest listed
lender said its board had approved a capital increase to 50
billion Egyptian pounds ($2.8 billion) from 20 billion pounds.
    Egypt's annual urban consumer price inflation decreased to
12.0 percent in December from 15.7 pct in November, the official
statistics agency CAPMAS said.
    Qatar's index rose 1.2 percent to hit its highest 
since March 2017, with 14 of its twenty stocks gaining.
    The index was boosted by financial shares, with Industries
Qatar adding 2.9 percent and Qatar Islamic Bank
 increasing 1.3 percent. 
    Qatar National Bank rose 0.8 percent. The largest
bank by assets in the Middle East and Africa is raising a 2
billion euro ($2.3 billion) syndicated loan, according to LPC, a
fixed income news service that is part of Refinitiv.

    The Abu Dhabi index inched up 0.2 percent, also
boosted by financials. First Abu Dhabi Bank, the
largest bank in the United Arab Emirates, added 0.3 percent and
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank was up 0.6 percent.
    Dubai's index also gained 0.2 percent with Emirates
NBD rising 0.6 percent and Ajman Bank
increasing 2.6 percent. 
    Growth in the UAE's non-oil private sector fell in December
to its slowest rate since October 2016, a survey showed.
    The seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD UAE Purchasing
Managers' Index, which covers manufacturing and services,
dropped to 54.0 in December from 55.8 in November.
 SAUDI       The index         rose 0.8 pct to
 ARABIA      8,210 points
 DUBAI       The index          edged up 0.2 pct to
             2,546 points
 QATAR       The index        was up 1.2 pct at
             10,658 points
 ABU DHABI   The index        added 0.2 pct to
             4,962 points
 EGYPT       The index          was flat at 13,367
 KUWAIT      The index        jumped 1.2 pct to
             5,453 points
 OMAN        The index        was flat at 4,311
 BAHRAIN     The index        gained 0.3 pct to
             1,342 points
($1 = 0.8672 euros)

($1 = 3.7508 riyals)

($1 = 17.8900 Egyptian pounds)

 (Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Mark Potter)
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