June 27, 2019 / 1:05 PM / 25 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Global rally propels Gulf markets; Saudis lead

    * Saudi rises for a third day
    * All Saudi banks gain
    * Aljazira Takaful, Solidarity climb on merger talks
    * Industries Qatar gains after stock split

    By Shakeel Ahmad
    June 27 (Reuters) - All major Gulf markets gained on
Thursday, reflecting a global equity rally, amid hopes for a
U.S.-China trade truce, with Saudi shares getting a further
boost from after limits were lowered on foreign share ownership.
    Saudi's stock index was up 1.3%, with Arab National
Bank rising 7% and Al Rajhi Bank up 1.9%.
    Saudi Arabia has relaxed a 49% limit for foreign strategic
investors in a company's shares, aiming to attract foreign funds
as the Kingdom opens up the region's largest market.

    The index is up 12.5% this year, led by foreign investors,
who have been net buyers of Saudi equities over the past few
months, with purchases worth 51.2 billion riyals ($13.65
billion)until May 30. 
    Saudi stocks were incorporated into the FTSE emerging-market
index in March and the MSCI emerging market benchmark in May.
    Insurers Aljazira Takaful Taawuni and Solidarity
Saudi Takaful rose 1.8% and 2.8% respectively after
they signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate their
merger in a share-swap deal. If the merger goes through, new
shares will be issued by Aljazira to Solidarity shareholders.

    Egypt's blue-chip index closed 0.7% higher after
snapping a six day-losing streak on Wednesday. Private-equity
firm Qalaa Holdings jumped 4.7% and investment bank
EFG Hermes Holdings gained 2.4%.
    The Abu Dhabi index rose 0.7%, lifted by banks. First
Abu Dhabi Bank was up 0.8% and Abu Dhabi Commercial
Bank gained 1.1%.
    Qatar's index traded 0.3% higher, supported by 1%
rise in petrochemical maker Industries Qatar and 1.1%
gain in Commercial Bank. Industries Qatar split its
stock on Wednesday.
    A 10-to-one stock split for companies on the exchange is
being phased in from June 9, in a bid to boost liquidity by
encouraging smaller investors to buy shares.
    Kuwait's index was also up 0.2%, a day after MSCI Inc
 said it would upgrade Kuwaiti equities to its main
emerging markets index in 2020.
    The MSCI move could attract inflows of around $5 billion
into Kuwaiti stocks, said Othman al-Essa, vice chairman of
Kuwait's Capital Market Authority's board.
    Kuwait has outperformed its Gulf peers in anticipation of
the MSCI move, gaining nearly 21% this year.
    In Dubai, the index edged up 0.1% with Commercial
Bank of Dubai jumping 5.6% and telecommunications
operator Du adding 1%.

($1 = 3.7502 riyals)    
 SAUDI       The index         rose 1.3% to 8,797 points
 ARABIA      
 ABU DHABI   The index        climbed 0.7% to 4,992 points
 DUBAI       The index          edged up 0.1% 2,626 points
 QATAR       The index        was up 0.3% at 10,444 points
 EGYPT       The index          rose 0.7% to 14,101 points
 BAHRAIN     The index        was up 0.5% at 1,468 points
 OMAN        The index        was up 0.4% at 3,891 points
 KUWAIT      The index        rose 0.2% to 6,359 points
 
 (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru, editing by Larry
King)
  
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