December 18, 2019 / 1:07 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Financials elevate most of Gulf, Egypt up again

    * Saudi extends gains for a fourth-day
    * 24 of 30 Egyptian stocks rise
    * DIB shareholders approve Noor Bank acquisition

    By Ateeq Shariff
    Dec 18 (Reuters) - Major Gulf stocks rose on Wednesday,
mostly led by financials with Saudi extending gains for a fourth
straight session, while gains in blue-chips bolstered Egypt.
    In Saudi, the index ended 0.7% higher, with National
Commercial Bank and Riyad Bank adding 3.8%
and 1.7%, respectively. They said they had ended preliminary
merger talks in separate stock exchange filings on Monday. 
    Saudi Aramco's shares meanwhile fell 2.8% to 36.7
riyals ($9.79) on the first day of their inclusion in the MSCI
emerging markets index. 
    The oil giant's shares were also included in the Saudi
Tadawul index on Wednesday and will join the FTSE global
benchmark on Thursday. 
    Egypt's blue-chip index rebounded for a second day,
increasing 1.2% with 24 of 30 stocks rising. Commercial
International Bank, the country's largest lender,
jumped 2.3% and Talaat Mostafa advanced 2.4%.
    Exchange data showed foreign investors were net buyers of
Egyptian stocks on Wednesday.
    Dubai's index rose 1.1% as Emaar Properties
 gained 2%, and Emirates NBD was up 1.2%.
    Dubai Islamic Bank rose 0.4% after saying it had
received shareholder approval for the acquisition of 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 closed up 0.7%, with First Abu
Dhabi Bank (FAB) adding 1.2% and Abu Dhabi Commercial
Bank gaining 1%.
    On Monday, FAB said it had further expanded its network in
Saudi Arabia by opening a branch in Jeddah.

    ** Qatar was closed for a public holiday.
    
 SAUDI ARABIA          rose 0.7% to 8,253 points
 ABU DHABI            added 0.7% to 5,095 points
 DUBAI                  gained 1.1% to 2,787 points
 EGYPT                  up 1.2% to 13,794 points
 BAHRAIN              was flat at 1,584 points
 OMAN                 slipped 0.1% to 3,943 points
 KUWAIT               was up 0.5% at 6,829 points
 

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

($1 = 3.7500 riyals)

 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Catherine
Evans)
  
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