March 12, 2019 / 1:37 PM / 6 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Global rally boosts most of Gulf, banks lift Saudi

    * Saudi's Medgulf jumps after CEO appointment
    * Al Hokair Group plunges on FY loss
    * Qatar snaps five-day losing streak
    * Egypt's SODIC enjoys best day in 11 months

    By Shakeel Ahmad
    March 12 (Reuters) - Most major Gulf markets rose on
Tuesday, lifted by financial and real estate stocks, mirroring a
rally in global markets amid hopes for a U.S.-China trade deal
and progress on Brexit.
    Saudi Arabia's index was up 0.2 percent with its
largest lender, National Commercial Bank, gaining 1
percent and bank Samba Financial Group adding 1.1
    The index is 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 stocks as the country
tries to move on from journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder.

    Foreign net buying in the Saudi market picked up in the
first week of March, coming in at 985 million riyals ($263
million), the highest level of foreign net buying since the week
ending Jan. 17, Arqaam Capital said. 
    Al Babtain Power And Telecommunication climbed 5.7
percent after it awarded a $69.5 million contract to manufacture
and supply metal structures.
    Insurer Medgulf rose 6.3 percent after its board
appointed Tarek Bin Abdullah Al-Naeem as chief executive. 
    But Abdulmohsen Al Hokair Group For Tourism And Development
 plunged 8.1 percent after it swung to a full-year net
loss, partly due to a decline in revenue from its entertainment
centres and hotels.
    The Dubai index rose 0.3 percent, with Dubai
Investments gaining 2.3 percent and builder DAMAC
Properties adding 2.2 percent. 
    Dubai was one of the worst performing last year due in part
to property shares, but they have been rebounding after robust
fourth-quarter earnings and increased construction contracts.
    The government has taken measures to cut costs for key
industries including aviation, real estate, and education as
part of a fiscal stimulus package, Reuters reported on Monday.

    The Qatar index was up 0.2 percent after five
sessions of losses. Fuel distributor Qatar Fuel
advanced 1.6 percent and blue-chip petrochemical maker
Industries Qatar increased 0.6 percent.
    The index was one of the best performing last year as fund
inflows increased after the limit on foreign ownership of Qatari
stocks was raised. But the index has lost 4.6 percent this year,
with some analysts considering it over-valued.
    Abu Dhabi's index edged down 0.2 percent, with
Emirates Telecommunications Group slipping 0.5
    Bank shares also fell, with the United Arab Emirates'
largest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank, and Abu Dhabi
Islamic Bank shedding 0.2 percent each.
    Banks in the United Arab Emirates are expected to experience
a rise in loan losses over the next 12 to 18 months as a decline
in real estate prices and rising interest rates reduce
borrowers' cash flows, according to Moody's.
    Egypt's blue-chip index rose 0.3 percent with
developer Sixth of October Development and Investment (SODIC)
 jumping 7.4 percent, its best one-day gain since April
($1 = 3.7502 riyals)
($1 = 17.4125 Egyptian pounds)
 SAUDI       The index         rose 0.2 pct to 8,446 points
 DUBAI       The index          rose 0.3 pct to 2,598 points
 QATAR       The index        rose 0.2 pct to 9,766 points
 ABU DHABI   The index        fell 0.2 pct to 4,862 points
 EGYPT       The index          rose 0.3 pct to 15,140 points
 KUWAIT      The index        rose 0.3 pct to 5,602 points
 OMAN        The index        fell 0.1 pct at 4,083 points
 BAHRAIN     The index        was down 0.1 pct to 1,405 points
 (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru
Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
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