December 19, 2019 / 1:29 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Financials buoy Saudi shares; Aramco's retreat continues

    * Basic Chemical leaps on dividend
    * Dubai snaps 7-day winning streak
    * DAMAC sees biggest fall in 11 months

    By Ateeq Shariff
    Dec 19 (Reuters) - Financial shares helped lift Saudi
Arabia's stock market for a fifth consecutive session on
Thursday, while top lender Commercial International Bank
supported Egypt's bourse.
    Saudi's benchmark index rose 0.5%, with Al Rajhi
Bank and National Commercial Bank, rising
1.5% and 2.8% respectively.
    Among petrochemicals, Saudi Basic Industries was
up 0.9% after its affiliate Clariant said that it is
selling its masterbatches unit to U.S.-based PolyOne Corp
 for $1.6 billion. It will pay shareholders
about $1 billion from the proceeds.
    Basic Chemical Industries jumped 4.2% following
its board proposal for 2019 cash dividend of one riyal per
share.
    However, Saudi Aramco's shares fell for third day
in row, to close 3.3% down at 35.5 riyals ($9.46) a day after
their inclusion in the MSCI emerging- markets index. The oil
giant will also join the FTSE benchmark on Thursday.
    Egypt's blue-chip index increased 0.3% with
Commercial International Bank adding 1.7%, while Cairo
for Investment and Real Estate Development advanced
3.9%.
    Dubai's index dropped 0.7%, snapping seven
consecutive sessions of gains, as Dubai Islamic Bank
declined 1.8% and DAMAC Properties plunged 9.6%, its
biggest fall since January.
    Duabi Islamic Bank on Wednesday rose after saying it had
received shareholder approval to acquire unlisted Dubai-based
Noor Bank.
    The acquisition will make the United Arab Emirates' largest
sharia-compliant bank one of the top Islamic banks in the world,
with total assets worth 275 billion dirhams ($74.87 billion), up
from 230 billion dirhams at the end of September.
    The Abu Dhabi index edged down 0.1%, with telecoms
firm Etisalat shedding 1.8%. 
    
 SAUDI ARABIA          rose 0.5% to 8,291 points
 ABU DHABI            gained 0.1% to 5,092 points
 DUBAI                  fell 0.7% to 2,769 points
 EGYPT                  up 0.3% to 13,837 points
 BAHRAIN              was flat at 1,584 points
 OMAN                 dropped 0.7% to 4,012 points
 KUWAIT               was up 0.6% at 6,870 points
 

($1 = 3.6729 UAE dirham)

($1 = 3.7509 riyals)

 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, Editing by William
Maclean)
  
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