MIDEAST STOCKS-Major Gulf markets steady; Aramco hits lowest level since IPO

    * Arabian Centres slides on poor Q3 profit
    * TAQA extends gains on ADPower proposal
    * Telecom Egypt leaps after update on Vodafone Egypt 

    By Ateeq Shariff
    Feb 5 (Reuters) - Major Gulf stock markets were steady in
quiet trade on Wednesday, while oil giant Saudi Aramco extended
losses and hit its lowest mark since it began trading.
    Saudi Arabia's benchmark index declined 0.5% with
Samba Financial Group shedding 2.3%, and shopping mall
operator Arabian Centres dropping 1.8% after posting a
steep fall in third-quarter profit.
    Rating agency Fitch said on Wednesday that growth had
returned to Saudi banks but remained fragile.
    Oil giant Saudi Aramco dipped 0.6% to 33.65 riyals
($8.97), hitting its lowest point since it began trading on Dec.
    Egypt's blue-chip index gained 0.5%; Eastern
Company gained 3.7%, while Telecom Egypt
jumped 5.4% following its update on Vodafone Egypt.
    Telecom Egypt said it was closely following Vodafone Group's
 potential deal to sell its 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt
, which has boosted that stock. Telecom Egypt holds the
remaining 45%.
    The Abu Dhabi index eased 0.3%, hit by a 1.1% fall in
the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a
0.3% fall in Etisalat.
    Maroc Telecom was fined 3.3 billion Moroccan
dirhams ($342.8 million) for anti-competitive practices, the
operator said on Monday. The company is 53% controlled by the
UAE's Etisalat, with the Moroccan state owning 22%.
    But Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA)
surged 14.9%, rising for a third day in a row. Abu Dhabi Power
Corporation (ADPower) is planning to take control of the energy
firm in an asset swap deal that would create a combined utility
with assets worth about 200 billion dirhams ($54.5 billion).
    In Dubai, the index edged up 0.2% with Dubai
Islamic Bank adding 0.5% and Emirates NBD Bank
 was up 0.4%.
    The Qatari index added 0.3%. Commercial Bank
 advanced 2.7% and Qatar Fuel gained 1.9%.

 SAUDI ARABIA          fell 0.5% to 8,094 points
 ABU DHABI            lost 0.3% to 5,081 points
 DUBAI                  added 0.2% to 2,772 points
 QATAR                rose 0.3% to 10,298 points
 EGYPT                  up 0.5% to 13,987 points
 BAHRAIN              eased 0.5% to 1,655 points
 OMAN                 fell 0.5% to 4,125 points
 KUWAIT               down 0.2% at 6,963 points
    ($1 = 9.6272 Moroccan dirham; $1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham; $1 =
3.7514 riyals)

 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Pravin