December 26, 2019 / 1:23 PM / 5 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most of Gulf falls but petrochemicals boost Saudi

    * Aramco rebounds to 35.4 riyals
    * Yansab drops on lower H2 dividend
    * Top lender biggest drag in Abu Dhabi
    * Financials strong in Egypt

    By Ateeq Shariff
    Dec 26 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates
and Qatar fell on Thursday with banking shares leading the way,
but petrochemicals helped Saudi Arabia buck the trend.
    Saudi Arabia's benchmark index reversed earlier
losses to close up 0.1%, with Saudi Basic Industries
gaining 1.3% and state-owned Aramco 0.4% higher at
35.4 riyals ($9.44).
    On Tuesday, Aramco said IPO bookrunner Goldman Sachs may
make additional purchases of the oil giant's shares to support
the price of the stock. The so-called stabilisation period will
end on Jan. 9, but so far no transactions have been executed.

    Yanbu National Petrochemicals (Yansab) fell 1.8%
after its board proposed a lower second-half dividend this year.
    In Abu Dhabi, the index slipped 1% with the United
Arab Emirates' (UAE) largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank
 down 1.2% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank off
    Telecoms firm Etisalat decreased 1.2%.
    Dubai's index fell 0.3% with the country's largest
sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank and Dubai
Investments shedding 0.9% and 1.5%, respectively.
    The UAE's central bank on Wednesday said it expected gross
domestic product to increase by 2% in the fourth quarter from
the same period last year, state news agency WAM reported.

    The Qatari index edged down 0.2% with Qatar Islamic
Bank ending 0.7% lower and Qatar National Bank
 0.5% lower.
    However, the index found some support from Commercial Bank
, which leapt 4.2%.
    Egypt's blue-chip index traded 1% higher with
gainers outnumbering losers. Commercial International bank
 rose 1.8% and Cairo for Investment and Real Estate
Development jumped 4.3%.
    Egypt's current account deficit narrowed to $1.382 billion
in July to September 2019 from $2.012 billion in the same period
a year earlier, central bank data showed on Wednesday.

    Net foreign direct investment inflows during the period,
which is the first quarter of Egypt's 2019/2020 financial year,
rose to $2.353 billion from $1.415 billion a year earlier.
 SAUDI ARABIA          edged up 0.1% to 8,353 points
 ABU DHABI            dropped 1% to 5,050 points
 DUBAI                  lost 0.3% to 2,765 points
 QATAR                slipped 0.2% to 10,426 points
 EGYPT                  rose 1% to 13,885 points
 BAHRAIN              edged up 0.1% to 1,604 points
 OMAN                 eased 0.2% to 3,866 points
 KUWAIT               was down 0.4% at 6,926 points

($1 = 3.7518 riyals)

 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, Kirsten Donovan)
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