March 3, 2020 / 1:27 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf indexes extend gains on stimulus expectations

    * All Saudi Arabian banks gain
    * Qatar snaps six days of losses
    * 24 of 30 stocks on Egypt's index rise

    By Ateeq Shariff
    March 3 (Reuters) - Most bourses in the Middle East closed
higher on Tuesday, with Saudi outperforming the region, as
global policymakers signalled a united front to address the
economic fallout from the spreading coronavirus.
    G7 finance ministers and central bank governors on Tuesday
said they would use all appropriate policy tools to achieve
strong, sustainable growth and safeguard against downside risks
from the fast-spreading coronavirus.
    Saudi Arabia's benchmark index advanced 2.8%, with
all its banking shares trading in positive territory. Al Rajhi
Bank added 3.4%, while petrochemical maker Saudi Basic
Industries jumped 5.3%.
    Elsewhere, Seera Group Holding was up 3.2%, after
the travel operator swung to annual profit from year ago losses.
    Egypt's blue-chip index gained 1%, as tobacco
monopoly Eastern Company hiked 3.8%, while Palm Hills
Developments surged 5.3% following a buyback of 1.3
million shares.
    Egypt introduced exceptional measures on Sunday to make it
easier for listed companies to buy treasury stocks, a move aimed
at supporting the stock market following a sharp fall in world
markets in the past few days.
    In Abu Dhabi, the index was up 0.9% with telecoms
firm Etisalat and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
both rising 2.8%.
    The Qatari index rose 0.5%, snapping six days of
losses. Qatar International Islamic Bank climbed 4.6%,
while Doha Bank closed 5.3% up.
    Kuwait's index increased 2.3%, extending gains from
the previous session, boosted by a 3.4% gain in National Bank of
Kuwait and a 1.7% rise in Kuwait Finance House
    Dubai's main share index shed earlier gains to end
flat, as Emirates Integrated Telecommunications
retreated 2%, while Emirates NBD Bank rose 0.8%.
    Meanwhile, major concerts and events in the United Arab
Emirates, an air transit centre as well as a tourism and
business hub, have been cancelled or postponed as the
coronavirus spreads in the Gulf.
    All the Gulf countries have reported cases of the new
coronavirus, many in people who had been to Iran, where 77
people have died from the virus and 2,336 have been infected.

 SAUDI ARABIA          gained 2.8% to 7,557 points
 ABU DHABI            rose 0.9% to 4,806 points
 DUBAI                  was flat at 2,536 points
 QATAR                added 0.5% to 9,259 points
 EGYPT                  was up 1% to 12,419 points
 BAHRAIN              slipped 0.2% to 1,638 points
 OMAN                 was up 0.4% to 4,096 points
 KUWAIT               advanced 2.3% at 6,516 points
 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru
Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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