March 19, 2020 / 1:54 PM / 4 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf stocks end higher on stimulus, oil prices

    * First Abu Dhabi Bank sees biggest rise in nearly 4 years
    * Air Arabia slides, trading ex-dividend
    * Qatar's index snaps four days of gains
    * 28 of thirty Egyptian stocks rise

    By Ateeq Shariff
    March 19 (Reuters) - Most markets in the Middle East
reversed losses to close higher on Thursday as measures by the
region's central banks calmed investor nerves, while higher oil
prices also aided sentiment. 
    Oil prices bounced nearly 7% after a three-day selloff drove
them to their lowest in almost two decades as demand plummeted
due to the coronavirus and supplies surged in a fight for market
share between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
    Brent crude jumped $1.43, or 5.75%, to $26.33 a
barrel by 1045 GMT.
    In Abu Dhabi, the index leapt 8.4%, with First Abu
Dhabi Bank (FAB) surging 14.9%, its biggest intraday
gain since June 2016. 
    Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank was up 14.4% after the
lender said on Wednesday it will introduce a wide range of
measures from April 2 to help over 1.2 million retail and
thousands of small-and-medium business customers.
    The UAE last week announced a $27 billion plan to counter
the economic fallout from the outbreak.
    Dubai's main share index added 2.9%, with blue-chip
developer Emaar Properties soaring 12.1%.
    But, budget airliner Air Arabia tumbled 4.7%, as
the stock traded ex-dividend.
    Egypt's blue-chip index jumped 5%, with 28 of
thirty stocks on the index rising, including heavyweight
Commercial International Bank, which climbed 10%.
    Earlier this week, the country's central bank cut its main
interest rates by 300 basis points at an unscheduled meeting,
describing it as a "pre-emptive" move to support the economy.

    In Saudi Arabia, the benchmark gained 1.8%, led by a
3.9% increase in petrochemical firm Saudi Basic Industries
. Al Rajhi Bank was up 1.4%.
    Saudi Arabia's Energy Ministry said on Wednesday it had
directed national oil company Saudi Aramco to keep
supplying crude oil at a record rate of 12.3 million barrels per
day (bpd) over the coming months. The oil giant's shares were up
    Qatar's index retreated 1%, snapping four days of
gains. Masraf Al Rayan plunged 7.9% to become top
loser on the index, as the lender traded ex-dividend.
    However, losses were capped by gains at Qatar National Bank
, which rose 2.8%.

 SAUDI ARABIA          rose 1.8% to 6,268
 ABU DHABI            leapt 8.4% to 3,686
 DUBAI                  rose 2.9% to 1,819
 QATAR                lost 1% to 8,577
 EGYPT                  gained 5% to 9,206
 BAHRAIN              added 2.5% to 1,409
 OMAN                 eased 1.1% to 3,567
 KUWAIT               was up 5.1% at 4,902
 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; editing by
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