August 1, 2018 / 1:07 PM / 10 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Bank sector gains send Qatar to highest close for 14 months

* Qatar overtakes Saudi Arabia as best performing Gulf market

* Property and bank sector shares boost Dubai

* Saudi flat, under pressure from banks, petrochemicals

* Egypt hits 3-week high

By Marwa Rashad

RIYADH, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Qatar’s stock market closed at its highest level for 14 months, led by banking stocks and overtaking Saudi Arabia as the top-performing index in the Gulf region while other markets were mixed amid lacklustre trading.

The benchmark Qatari index jumped 1.5 percent to 9,977 points, its highest since late May 2017.

Qatar National Bank and Qatar Islamic Bank rose 2.3 percent, and Commercial Bank jumped 4.1 percent.

The index has risen 16.4 percent this year, while the Saudi stock market has risen 14.7 percent.

Generally positive second-quarter results in recent weeks have helped sustain a rally that started after several Qatari companies raised limits on foreign ownership.

In Saudi Arabia, which houses the region’s biggest bourse, the index was flat, still under pressure from a number of blue chips and led by banks and petrochemicals.

Heavyweight Al Rajhi Bank lost 0.6 percent while Saudi Electricity Co. fell 1.9 percent.

Arabian Cement fell 2.4 percent after it reported a second quarter net loss of 50.9 million riyals versus a profit of 35.5 million riyals a year ago.

In Dubai, the index rose 0.8 percent, supported by gains in property and banking shares.

Developer Emaar Properties and its subsidiary Emaar Malls rose 1.7 percent and 2.5 percent respectively. The latter extended gains made on the back of Monday’s nearly 15-percent jump in quarterly earnings, broadly in line with market forecasts.

Dubai Islamic Bank added 1.2 percent and Emirates NBD inched up 0.5 percent.

The Abu Dhabi Index lost 0.3 percent, with the biggest losers including Etisalat, down 1.2 percent.

Egypt’s main index rose 0.6 percent to 15,670 points, its highest level for almost three weeks.

Property developer Talaat Mostafa jumped 2.6 percent and EFG Hermes rose 1.7 percent.


* The index was flat at 8,289 points.


* The index rose 0.8 percent to 2,979 points.


* The index lost 0.3 percent to 4,845 points.


* The index was up 1.5 percent to 9,977 points.


* The index was up 0.3 percent at 5,310 points.


* The index lost 0.4 percent to 1,353 points.


* The index was flat at 4,341 points.


* The index fell 0.6 percent to 15,670 points. (Reporting by Marwa Rashad Editing by Louise Ireland)

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