December 29, 2019 / 1:11 PM / 6 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Financials lead most Gulf bourses higher, but Egypt retreats

    * Aramco inches up another 0.1%
    * 21 of 30 Egyptian stocks slide
    * Top lender weighs on Qatar

    By Ateeq Shariff
    Dec 29 (Reuters) - Most major Gulf markets rose on Sunday as
financial shares climbed, with Saudi leading the gains, though
Egypt was pressured by a sell-off in blue chip stocks.
    Saudi's benchmark index ended up 0.7%, with Al Rajhi
Bank rising 1.2% and Saudi Basic Industries
gaining 0.9%.
    State-owned Saudi Aramco inched up 0.1%. On
Tuesday Aramco said 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 Arab National Bank lost 1.3%. Post trading
hours, the lender's board proposed a lower second-half dividend.
    Outside of the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index
declined 0.5% with 21 of its 30 stocks in the red, including
Commercial International Bank, which was 1.3% lower,
and EFG Hermes, down 2.1%.
    Exchange data on Sunday showed foreign investors were net
sellers of Egyptian stocks.
    Dubai's index added 0.4%, with the United Arab
Emirates' largest sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank
 and Emirates NBD Bank increasing 1.1% and
0.8% respectively.
    In Abu Dhabi the index climbed 0.4%, driven by a 0.4%
rise in First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 0.6% gain in
telecoms firm Etisalat.
    The Dubai government will spend a record 66.4 billion
dirhams ($18.08 billion) in 2020 as part of its budget, hiking
outlays to stimulate the economy and support the Expo 2020 world
fair, Reuters reported, citing state news agency WAM.

    State spending will increase by 17%, compared with the
original budget plan of 56.8 billion dirhams for 2019.
    The Qatari index also closed down 0.1%, with Qatar
National Bank, the Gulf's largest lender, dropping 1%
and Commercial Bank shedding 1.1%.
 SAUDI ARABIA          was up 0.7% to 8,412 points
 ABU DHABI            rose 0.4% to 5,073 points
 DUBAI                  also up 0.4% to 2,777 points
 QATAR                slipped 0.1% to 10,419 points
 EGYPT                  down 0.5% to 13,813 points
 BAHRAIN              edged up 0.2% to 1,607 points
 OMAN                 added 0.6% to 3,891 points
 KUWAIT               was up 0.1% at 6,932 points

($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirham)

 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan
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