October 20, 2019 / 1:25 PM / 2 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks boost Saudi index; other Gulf markets down

    * All banks on Saudi index rise
    * Saudi's NCB sees biggest gain in a year
    * Emirates NBD extends losses 
    * SIB up on higher 9-month profit

    By Ateeq Shariff
    Oct 20 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market rose sharply
on Sunday, lifted by cheaper valuations and a delay in Aramco's
IPO, while other major Gulf markets were mostly weighed down by
shares of financial institutions.
    The Saudi market rose 2%, extending gains for a
third straight session with all banking stocks higher. The
kingdom's largest lender by assets National Commercial Bank
 jumped 5.3%, its biggest intraday gain since September
2018. Al Rajhi Bank closed 1,7% higher.
    Akber Khan, head of asset management at Al Rayan Investment
in Doha noted that before the Tadawul index began to rally last
week, it had fallen almost 20% in the previous 3 months, with
half of that in October alone, bring valuations for many stocks
to compelling levels. 
    "News of a delay in the Aramco IPO removed an overhang and
gave investors the confidence to start buying again" he added.
    Saudi Aramco IPO-ARMO.SE put off the planned launch of its
initial public offering in the hope that pending third-quarter
results will bolster investor confidence in the world's largest
oil firm, Reuters reported on Friday citing two sources familiar
with the matter.
    Aramco was expected to announce plans this week to float a
stake of between 1% and 2% on the Tadawul, in what would have
been one of the world's largest ever public offerings, worth
upwards of $20 billion.
    In Egypt, the benchmark index added 0.2% with
Commercial International Bank rising 1.4%, while Egypt
Kuwait Holding was up 1.5%.
    However, Egypt's Qalaa Holdings fell 0.8% despite
saying that it will increase its refinery production capacity.
     The firm will increase its refinery production capacity to
5.5 million tonnes of oil products per year in 2021 from 4.2
million now, the company's chairman told Reuters.
    Dubai's index extended losses from the previous
session to close 0.5% down, with its largest lender Emirates NBD
 dropping 1.2%. 
    On Thursday, the lender posted its biggest intraday fall in
nearly eight months after its board approved a capital increase
via a rights issue of up to 6.45 billion dirhams ($1.76
billion), lower than the 7.35 billion dirhams the general
assembly had decided on in February this year. 
    The Qatari index was down 0.2% hurt by a 1.6% fall in
Commercial Bank and a 1.8% drop in Mesaieed
    In Abu Dhabi, the index inched down 0.1% as Emirates
Telecommunications and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
 lost 0.4% each.
    But Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) rose 1.7% after it
reported a rise in nine-month net profit.
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         rose 2% to 7,785 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        slipped 0.1% to 5,090 points
 DUBAI         The index          lost 0.5% to 2,766 points
 QATAR         The index        fell 0.2% to 10,412 points
 EGYPT         The index          was up 0.2% at 14,239 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        was flat at 1,527 points
 OMAN          The index        gained 0.3% to 4,016 points
 KUWAIT        The index        was down 0.8% at 6,252 points

($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirham)

 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten
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