November 6, 2018 / 1:26 PM / 14 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks pressure Qatar, Egypt rises sharply

* 25 of 30 stocks on Egypt’s blue-chip index rise

* Bank stocks weigh on Qatar

* Dubai’s Arabtec jumps after restructuring update

By Abinaya Vijayaraghavan

Nov 6 (Reuters) - Egypt’s blue-chip index rose on Tuesday, boosted by its real estate and industrial shares, while Qatar fell a day after hitting its highest level in a year and a half following a government reshuffle.

Twenty five of 30 stocks on the Egyptian blue-chip index gained, sending the index rising 1.5 percent. The broader EGX 100 index was up 2.6 percent.

Emaar Misr For Development rose 2.2 percent after reporting a 37.2 percent increase in its third-quarter profit.

Egypt’s Beltone Financial Holding said the prospectus for last month’s initial public offering of consumer finance provider Sarwa Capital contained no irregularities.

Last week the regulator suspended Beltone’s underwriting unit from any activity for six months. Beltone is controlled by billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris through his company Orascom Investment Holding. Orascom gained 3.4 percent.

Orascom Construction Ltd was up 3.2 percent after it said it added $520 million to its backlog in the third-quarter.

The Qatar index fell 0.8 percent, with bank shares weighing on the index. Qatar National Bank shed 3.7 percent and Qatar Islamic Bank dropped 1.8 percent after EFG Hermes cut rating on the stock to ‘sell’ from ‘neutral’.

Qatar named new heads of its giant state-run energy firm and sovereign wealth fund on Sunday while appointing the CEO of its largest bank as its new trade minister.

Qatar’s ruler also issued decrees outlining changes to the boards of state gas giant Qatar Petroleum and Qatar Investment Authority, the world’s ninth largest sovereign wealth fund with about $300 billion in assets.

Saudi Arabia’s bourse inched up 0.1 percent, with Riyad Bank rising 1.1 percent and Arabian Cement increasing 6.5 percent despite posting a drop in its third-quarter profit.

Saudi Vitrified Clay Pipe jumped 8.3 percent after reporting a 23 percent gain in profit for its third-quarter and Al Khaleej Training and Education gained 5.5 percent after its revenue for the same period rose.

Foreigners sold a net 89.2 million riyals in the Saudi stock market in the week ended Nov. 1, a sharp drop from the previous two weeks when investor worries over the impact of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing prompted heavy selling.

The reduction suggested that despite volatility many fund managers are expecting inflows into Saudi Arabia next year, when Riyadh’s market joins emerging market indexes.

In Dubai, the index rose 0.7 percent, with Emirates NBD rising 2.1 percent and Emaar Malls increasing 4.4 percent.

Contractor Arabtec jumped 8.1 percent after appointing U.S.-based Moelis & Co to assist with a debt restructuring.

But DXB Entertainments lost 1.9 percent after posting a drop in third-quarter revenue.

Abu Dhabi’s index reversed course to add 0.6 percent, with First Abu Dhabi Bank rising 1.4 percent, while Commercial Bank International soared 15 percent in light trade.

The merger of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union National Bank and Al Hilal Bank is at an early stage, the United Arab Emirates central bank governor said on Tuesday.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank was down 0.9 percent.

The three banks are in talks for a deal that could form a lender with $113 billion in assets.

The UAE central bank expects economic growth to accelerate to 4.2 percent in 2019, with no material impact from the renewal of U.S. sanctions on Iran as long as banks have prepared for the penalties, its governor said on Tuesday. SAUDI ARABIA * The index was up 0.1 percent at 7,812 points. DUBAI * The index gained 0.7 percent at 2,816 points. ABU DHABI * The index rose 0.6 percent at 5,004 points. QATAR * The index was down 0.8 percent at 10,377 points. BAHRAIN * The index lost 0.1 percent at 1,314 points. OMAN * The index was up 0.1 percent at 4,421 points. EGYPT * The index rose 1.5 percent at 13,436 points.

Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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