May 16, 2019 / 1:15 PM / 9 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks propel Saudi, lender FAB drags Abu Dhabi

    * 11 of 12 Saudi banks rise
    * SABB, Alawwal gain on shareholders' nod for merger
    * FAB continues to slide on MSCI decision
    * All but one real estate shares fall in Dubai
    * Qatar's Mesaieed extends gains on MSCI inclusion

    By Ateeq Shariff
    May 16 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market rose for a
third straight session on Thursday, rebounding from recent
sell-offs and ahead of MSCI inclusion later this month. Abu
Dhabi was pressured by its top-lender.
    On Monday, MSCI said that it would include MSCI Saudi Arabia
in its emerging-markets index, effective May 28, a move that
could draw billions of dollars into the market.
    MSCI said 30 Saudi Arabian securities would be added,
representing an aggregate weight of 1.42% in the MSCI Emerging
Markets Index.
    The Saudi index was up 1.7% with Al Rajhi Bank
 adding 2.5%, while Saudi Basic Industries
was up 1.3%.
    Saudi Telecom jumped 5.1% after HSBC raised its
target price.
    The three stocks are the largest additions to the MSCI
Emerging Markets Index measured by full company market
capitalization.
    Saudi British Bank and Alawwal Bank
added 1.6% and 2.3% respectively after their shareholders
approved a planned merger.
    The Abu Dhabi index slid for the fourth straight
session, down 1.2%, with Emirates Telecommunications Group
 shedding 1.7%.
    First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates'
largest lender, shed 2.1%. The lender fell in recent sessions
after MSCI decided to maintain its foreign inclusion factor at
25%, despite recent foreign ownership limit increase to 40% from
25%.
    The bank said on Thursday that it was seeking clarification
from MSCI on limiting its free float at 25% and added that
MSCI's decision was subjective and didn't match publicly
available disclosures.
    Egypt's blue-chip index, lost 1% with Commercial
International Bank falling 1% and Juhayna Food
Industries slumping 9.7%.
    In Dubai, the index dipped 0.3%, weighed down by
its real estate stocks.
    Contractor Arabtec Holding plunged 7%. On
Wednesday, the firm reported a 50% drop in its first-quarter
profit. Union Properties shed 2.8% after reporting a
plunge in its first-quarter profit.
    Dubai property prices have fallen since a mid-2014 peak,
hurt by weaker oil prices and muted sales.
    Qatar's index edged up 0.1% with Mesaieed
Petrochemical gaining 2.9%. The stock has been rising
since it was added to the MSCI index earlier this week.
    But a few banks dropped, with Qatar International Islamic
Bank closing 1.7% lower.
    Qatari banks face growing pressure from high exposure to the
country's sluggish real estate market, hit by oversupply tied to
preparations for its 2022 World Cup, ratings agency Fitch said.
​
    
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         was up 1.7% at 8,622 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        dropped 1.2% to 4,719 points
 DUBAI         The index          fell 0.3% to 2,575 points
 QATAR         The index        edged up 0.1% to 9,872 points
 EGYPT         The index          declined 1% to 13,660 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        lost 0.6% to 1,400 points
 OMAN          The index        rose 0.8% to 3,859 points
 KUWAIT        The index        rose 1.6% to 6,108 points
 
 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru)
  
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