July 3, 2019 / 1:18 PM / 20 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf markets reverse course, Kuwait extends gains on MSCI upgrade

    * Saudi's Gulf General surges on insurance deal
    * Kuwait rises for a fifth-day
    * Dubai ends four days of gains
    * Qatari telecoms gain ahead of stock split

    By Ateeq Shariff
    July 3 (Reuters) - Most major Middle East markets clawed
back earlier losses on Wednesday largely on back of their
financial stocks, while Kuwait rose for the fifth straight
session after MSCI's decision to upgrade Kuwaiti equities to its
main emerging markets index.
    The Saudi index rose 0.2% with Al Rajhi Bank
 rising 0.6% and National Commercial Bank up
0.7%.
    Gulf General Cooperative Insurance jumped 7.7%
after it won an insurance contract worth over 5% of its revenue
in 2018.
    The index is up 12.8% this year, led by foreign investors.
Saudi exchange data released on Monday showed foreigners bought
a net 16.16 billion riyals ($4.31 billion) worth of Saudi stocks
last month.
    Kuwait's index rose 0.8%, gaining for a fifth
straight session. Last week, index compiler MSCI said it would
move Kuwaiti equities to its main emerging markets index in
2020, a move that could trigger billions of dollars of inflows.

    Kuwait has outperformed its Gulf peers in anticipation of
the MSCI move, gaining over 23% in the year-to-date.
    Middle Eastern funds plan to continue increasing their
investments in Kuwait over the next three months, a Reuters poll
found earlier this week.
    Qatar's index edged up 0.1%. Telecommunications
operators Ooredoo jumped 3.2% while Vodafone Qatar
 was up 0.4% ahead of their stock split on Thursday.
    The index has gained in recent sessions as a 10-to-one stock
split for companies on the exchange is being phased in from June
9 and will be completed by July 7. The move is designed to boost
liquidity by encouraging smaller investors to buy shares.
    In Dubai, the index dropped 0.5% after four days of
gains, pressured by a 1.3% fall in Emaar Properties
and a 0.4% drop in its largest lender Emirates NBD.
    Growth of the United Arab Emirates' non-oil private sector
softened a bit in June due to a slight increase in overall input
prices, a survey of companies showed on Wednesday.
    The Abu Dhabi index edged up 0.2% with First Abu
Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates' largest lender,
closing 0.7% higher.
   Egypt's blue-chip index traded flat with Telecom
Egypt adding 2.2% and market heavyweight Commercial
International Bank slipping 0.5%.
        
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         rose 0.2% to 8,853 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        edged up 0.2% to 4,989 points
 DUBAI         The index          lost 0.5% to 2,666 points
 QATAR         The index        was up 0.1% at 10,591 points
 EGYPT         The index          was flat 14,137 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        added 0.5% to 1,499 points
 OMAN          The index        fell 0.9% to 3,825 points
 KUWAIT        The index        increased 0.8% to 6,506 points
 

($1 = 3.7502 riyals)

 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru
Editing by Frances Kerry)
  
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