April 21, 2019 / 1:55 PM / 8 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi outperforms on financials and real estate, most Gulf markets rise

    By Tuqa Khalid
    DUBAI, April 21 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi stocks outperformed
Gulf markets on Sunday on expectations that banks and real
estate companies will benefit from new rules which would allow
foreigners to own land and property in investment areas on a
freehold basis.
    The Abu Dhabi index rose 1 percent, lifted by RAK
Properties, up 2.7 percent, and Aldar Properties
, up 2.1 percent.
    Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank rose 1.8 percent and
Union National Bank rose 2.3 percent. 
    The rise in investor interest came ahead of a company filing
that said Al Hilal Bank's owner, the Abu Dhabi Investment
Council, appointed Alaa Eraiqat as the lender's chairman.

    Eraiqat is currently group chief executive of Abu Dhabi
Commercial Bank (ADCB), which is expected to merge
with Al Hilal Bank and Union National Bank (UNB) in the
first half of 2019. 
    Eraiqat will serve as chairman at Al Hilal in addition to
his current role at ADCB.
    First Abu Dhabi Bank continued a recent rally to
add 1.4 percent. The top lender in Abu Dhabi rose nearly 9
percent last week after obtaining regulatory approval to
increase its foreign ownership limit to 40 percent from 25
    Saudi Arabia's main index, the Tadawul All-Share benchmark
, was up 0.5 percent, lifted by financials and
    Islamic lender Alinma and telecommunications firm
Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) were up 5.3 percent and 4.8
percent, respectively, after reporting strong earnings for the
first quarter.
    "Generally, the (Saudi) corporate results coming in today
have been encouraging. Sentiment remains positive on foreign
inflows as the next FTSE and MSCI inclusion nears," said 
Muhammad Faisal Potrik, head of research at Riyad Capital. 
    Saudi shares joined the FTSE Emerging All Cap Index in March
with a weighting of 2.9 percent. In May, Saudi shares will join
the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
    In Dubai, the index rose 0.2 percent on the back of
a strong performance by real estate stocks such as Deyaar
, Emaar Development and Emaar Malls
 which were up 3.7 percent, 2.1 percent and 1.2
percent, respectively.
    Qatar's stock market inched up 0.1 percent on
financials, as Qatar First Bank rose 1.1 percent,
Qatar Islamic Bank gained 0.3 percent and Qatar
Insurance company added 1 percent.
    Egypt's blue-chip index was down 0.3 percent, with
Alexandria Mineral Oils Co SAE shedding 3.6 percent
and El Sewedy Electric slipping 2 percent. 
    "Regional markets have been focusing on passive flows from
MSCI and FTSE events in Saudi and Kuwait while ignoring other
markets like Dubai, Oman and Bahrain due to lack of catalysts,"
said Sanat Sachar, equity research analyst at Dubai's Al Mal
    "We expect this theme to remain valid for the next couple of
months and post that investors will start looking at other
markets in search of better investment opportunities with
cheaper valuations," Sachar added.
 SAUDI      The index         was up 0.5 pct at 9,240 points
 ABU DHABI  The index        rose 1 pct to 5,346 points
 DUBAI      The index          was up 0.2 pct at 2,821 points
 QATAR      The index        was up 0.1 pct at 10,355 points
 EGYPT      The index          was down 0.3 pct at 14,839 points
 BAHRAIN    The index        was flat at 1,446 points
 OMAN       The index        was up 0.1 pct at 3,984 points
 KUWAIT     The index        was up 0.1 pct at 6,249 points

 (Reporting by Tuqa Khalid, editing by Hadeel Al Sayegh and
Louise Heavens)
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