MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai jumps as Emirates NBD hits 12-year high

Sept 2 (Reuters) - The Dubai stock market saw its strongest day in three and a half years on Monday as top bank Emirates NBD soared to a 12-year high after it raised the limit on foreign ownership of its shares.

In Dubai, the index surged 4.1%, its biggest intra-day gain since January 2016, boosted by its largest lender Emirates NBD.

Emirates NBD surged 14.9% to its highest level since October 2007, after the bank raised foreign ownership limit to 20% from 5% with immediate effect.

The bank also announced its intention to raise that limit to 40% in future after seeking approval from its shareholders and the regulatory authorities.

Saudi Arabia’s stock index slid 0.3%, extending its losses for the fourth straight session, with Riyad Bank falling 1.9% and Saudi British Bank losing 1.3%.

Banks continued to weigh on Saudi as receding passive fund flows dampened investor appetite.

Middle East funds plan to reduce investment in Saudi Arabia, a Reuters poll showed last week, displaying a bearishness that has carried over from last month.

The Abu Dhabi index added 0.3%, offsetting some losses from the previous session. Emirates Telecommunications rose 0.7% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank was up 0.6%.

Qatar’s index edged down 0.1% with market heavyweight Industries Qatar dropping 1%. (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)