October 20, 2019 / 1:25 PM / 24 days 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 Petrochemical.     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 Donovan)   

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