April 22, 2019 / 1:37 PM / in a month

MIDEAST STOCKS-Lender FAB leads Abu Dhabi higher, petchems weigh on Saudi

    * Abu Dhai's National Marine soars on higher dividend 
    * Saudi's Kayan slides on Q1 loss
    * Qatar's GISS gains after unit signs contract
    * Oriental Weavers plunges on going ex-dividend

    By Ateeq Shariff
    April 22 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi's stock market closed higher
for the fourth straight session on Monday, aided by its largest
lender First Abu Dhabi Bank, while petrochemical stocks pulled
the Saudi market down.
    The Abu Dhabi index rose 0.8 percent, led by a 1.8
percent increase in First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB).
    The lender has been rising in recent sessions after it
obtained regulatory approval to increase its foreign ownership
limit to 40 percent from 25 percent.
    Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) rose 1.1 percent.
    On Sunday its chief executive Alaa Eraiqat was appointed
chairman of Al Hilal Bank, with which ADCB is expected to merge,
along with Union National Bank, in the first half of
2019.
    National Marine Dredging surged 11.1 percent after
the shareholders approved an increase in its cash dividend to 25
percent from the 22 percent that board had proposed.
    Saudi Arabia's main index fell 0.5 percent as most
of its petrochemical stocks slid, with sector leader Saudi Basic
Industries shedding 0.8 percent.
    Saudi Kayan Petrochemical plunged 5.4 percent
after it swung to a first-quarter loss from a profit last year.
    Arqaam Capital said in a note that it expects petrochemical
companies' net profit to see sharp declines year-over-year on
lower petrochemical prices
    However, their bottom line is expected to improve
quarter-over-quarter as the last quarter was impacted by
inventory writedowns and seasonally higher costs.
    Qatar's blue-chip index added 0.4 percent as its
financial stocks rose.
    Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's largest lender,
rose 2.2 percent, while Gulf International Services
closed up 1.9 percent after its Gulf Drilling International unit
signed a 3-year contract with oil field developer North Oil.
    Egypt's blue-chip index was down 0.3 percent,
dragged lower by Oriental Weavers Carpet Co dropping
14.6 percent, to its biggest single-day loss since April 2009,
as the stock traded ex-dividend.
    Dubai's main index traded flat, with its largest
listed developer Emaar Properties gaining 1 percent.
    Dubai's economy is expected to grow 2.1 percent in 2019,
according to a government forecast, up from 1.94 percent in
2018, which was its slowest pace since a 2009 contraction.

    Kuwait's index fell 1.3 percent, with Kuwait Finance
House declining 1.9 percent, while Kuwait Projects
 dropped 4.4 percent as the stock traded ex-dividend.

 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         was down 0.5 pct at 9,195 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        rose 0.8 pct to 5,386 points
 DUBAI         The index          was flat at 2,821 points
 QATAR         The index        was up 0.4 pct at 10,401 points
 EGYPT         The index          dropped 0.3 pct to 14,801
               points
 BAHRAIN       The index        fell 0.3 pct to 1,443 points
 OMAN          The index        slipped 0.2 pct to 3,979 points
 KUWAIT        The index        was down 1.3 pct at 6,169 points
 
 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan
Harvey)
  
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