September 4, 2019 / 1:24 PM / 7 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks boost Saudi index; wide sell-off weighs on Egypt

    * Saudi index sees biggest gain in nearly 3 months
    * All Saudi lenders ended higher 
    * In Egypt 23 of thirty stocks slide
    * Emirates NBD extends gains on foreign ownership
    * Qatar ends four-day winning streak

    By Ateeq Shariff
    Sept 4 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market rose sharply
on Wednesday, with all its banks gaining amid advancing oil
prices on positive news from China's services sector, while
Egypt's index ended lower as most of its blue-chip stocks
    Oil prices were up boosted by a wider market pickup, after
three days of losses on lingering concern about a weakening
global economy.
    Global markets rebounded after a private survey showed that
activity in China's services sector expanded at the fastest pace
in three months in August as new orders rose, prompting the
biggest increase in hiring in over a year.
    In Saudi, the index advanced 1.7%, for its biggest
intraday gain since June 10. Al Rajhi Bank was up 2.7%
and National Commercial Bank, the country's largest
lender, surged 4.7%.
    Saudi gym network operator Leejam Sports gained
0.6% after it announced a 0.5 riyal ($0.1333) per share dividend
for the second quarter.
    Egypt's blue-chip index dropped 1.1%, with 23 of
thirty stocks declining.
    The country's largest lender Commercial International Bank
 fell 0.7% and Talat Mostafa climbed 3.2%.
    Palm Hills Development added 1.3% after the firm
reported a higher second quarter profit.
    In Dubai the index edged up 0.1%, changing its
course to close higher, with Emirates NBD gaining
0.7%, extending its gains for a third day in a row. 
    On Monday, the lender had soared 14.9%, reaching its highest
level since October 2007, following the bank's announcement it
would raise foreign ownership limit to 20% from 5% with
immediate effect. The lender also said it intends to raise that
limit to 40% in future.
    Arabtec Holding ended 1.7% higher, the top gainer
on the index, after the developer said it is willing to explore
possibility of entering into a cooperation agreement in
construction sector with Trojan Holding.
    In a separate disclosure to the bourse the firm also
announced appointment of Wail Farsakh as chief operating
    However, major stocks in real estate division capped the
gains with Emaar Properties shedding 0.2% and DAMAC
Properties losing 1%.
    On Monday, Dubai set up a real estate planning commission to
regulate projects and avoid competition between semi-government
and private firms, in a move designed to address the property
market slump.
    Heavy oversupply in the property market, an important sector
of Dubai's economy, has seen residential prices slide by at
least a quarter since mid-2014.
    The Abu Dhabi index added 0.4% led by a 0.9% rise in
the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a
1.4% gain in Aldar Properties
     In Qatar, the index edged down 0.1%, to snap a
four-day winning streak, with market heavyweight Industries
Qatar declining 1.5%.
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         rose 1.7% to 8,058 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        gained 0.4% to 5,125 points
 DUBAI         The index          edged up 0.1% to 2,880 points
 QATAR         The index        slid 0.1% to 10,295 points
 EGYPT         The index          down 1.1% to 14,841 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        lost 0.1% to 1,542 points
 OMAN          The index        slipped 0.1% to 4,012 points
 KUWAIT        The index        was down 0.2% at 6,546 points

($1 = 3.7498 riyals)

 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru
Editing by Frances Kerry)
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