March 12, 2019 / 8:21 AM / in a year

MIDEAST STOCKS-Global rally lifts Gulf, blue chips lead Qatar

March 12 (Reuters) - All major Gulf markets rose on Tuesday mirroring gains in global markets, while Qatar was lifted by its blue-chip stocks.

The Qatar index was up 0.8 percent after five sessions of losses. Middle East's biggest lender Qatar National Bank advanced 1.3 percent and blue-chip petrochemical maker Industries Qatar increased 1 percent.

The index was one of the best performing markets last year as fund inflows increased after the limit on foreign ownership of Qatari stocks was raised. But the index has already lost 4.6 percent this year, with some analysts considering it expensive at its current valuation.

In Dubai, the index rose 0.7 percent with its biggest listed developer Emaar Properties gaining 1.1 percent and DAMAC Properties adding 2.9 percent.

The Dubai index was one of the worst performing last year due in part to beaten down property shares, but they have been rebounding recently after robust fourth-quarter earnings and increased construction contracts.

The Dubai government has taken measures to cut costs for key industries including aviation, real estate, and education as part of a fiscal stimulus package to boost economic growth, Reuters reported on Monday.

Saudi Arabia's index was up 0.1 percent with lender Samba Financial Group gaining 1.1 percent and telecommunications firm Etihad Etisalat rising 3.6 percent.

The index is still up 7.8 percent this year, outperforming major Gulf markets, with big investors in Saudi Arabia pushing ahead with deals and pouring money back into its stock market as the kingdom tries to move on from journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder.

Foreign investors poured 6.94 billion riyals ($1.85 billion) into the Saudi market in the first two months of 2019, according to Saudi stock exchange data.

Al Babtain Power And Telecommunication jumped 6.7 percent after it awarded a $69.5 million contract to manufacture and supply metal structures.

Insurer Medgulf rose 4.4 percent after its board appointed Tarek Bin Abdullah Al-Naeem as its Chief Executive.

The Abu Dhabi index edged up 0.1 percent with Aldar Properties rising 2.7 percent.

$1 = 3.7502 riyals Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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