September 23, 2018 / 1:29 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Kuwait down ahead of FTSE entry, other Middle East markets mixed

* Kuwait falls ahead of FTSE entry

* Orascom Investments soars in Egypt

* Saudi Arabia closed for national day

DUBAI, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Kuwait’s stock market fell on Sunday, pausing after recent gains ahead of joining of the FTSE Russell emerging market index this week, which is expected to draw investment from passive funds.

Entry to the emerging market index will be in two phases, on Sept. 24 and Dec. 24. Arqaam Capital estimates the inflows in across the two phases will reach $1 billion.

Kuwait’s main index closed 1.4 percent down, pressured by telecoms and financial stocks.

Telecoms group Zain ended the day 2.5 percent lower, Kuwait Finance House lost 2.5 percent and National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) fell 2.4 percent while logistics company Agility dropped by 2 percent.

The index has gained almost 11 percent in the year to date. This quarter alone it has climbed by 8 percent on expected inflows ahead of the FTSE Russell inclusion.

Elsewhere, Middle East markets were mixed.

Egypt’s index, which plunged 3.8 percent on Wednesday, added 1.3 percent. Abu Dhabi’s benchmark closed 0.2 percent up, Dubai dipped by 0.1 percent and the Qatari index was flat.

In Egypt, Orascom Investment Holdings soared by 9.9 percent after announcing that it it has been granted an exemption from the United Nations to operate its Koryolink venture in North Korea. Orascom Construction also jumped by 9.9 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, Union National Bank (UNB) and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) rose 0.6 percent and 0.9 percent respectively. The two banks are in merger talks along with unlisted Al Hilal Bank.

In Dubai, investment company Amanat Holding dropped 3.3 percent, logistics company Aramex fell 1.5 percent and blue-chip developer Emaar Properties lost 0.2 percent.

In Qatar, the region’s biggest lender, Qatar National Bank (QNB), rose 0.7 percent. Petrochemicals, metals and fertiliser producer Industries Qatar fell 0.7 percent.

Saudi Arabia’s stock market was closed for the country’s national day.

DUBAI

* The index fell 0.1 percent to 2,762 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index was rose 0.2 percent at 4,892 points.

QATAR

* The index flat at 9,769 points.

KUWAIT

* The index fell 1.4 percent to 5,289 points.

OMAN

* The index lost 0.2 percent to 4,486 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index was up 0.9 percent at 1,351 points.

EGYPT

* The index rose 1.3 percent at 14,262 points. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell Editing by David Goodman)

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