January 31, 2019 / 1:30 PM / 6 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-New Saudi-MSCI index dips; earnings boost Dubai

    * Saudi's Bahri falls on lower Q4 profit
    * Dubai's Deyaar gains on FY results
    * Abu Dhabi's ADCB climbs after three-way banking merger
    * Egypt's Ezz steel continues to rise on rating hike

    By Shakeel Ahmad and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan
    Jan 31 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market, which
introduced the MSCI Tadawul 30 index, fell on Thursday as its
bank stocks slid, while Dubai gained sharply lifted by corporate
earnings results.
    Saudi Arabia's main index fell 0.3 percent. National
Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia dropped 2.5 percent
after its fourth-quarter net profit more than halved. 
    But Riyad Bank rose 2.1 percent after posting a 39
percent gain in its fourth-quarter net profit, according to
Reuters calculations.
    The MSCI Tadawul 30 Index (MT30) was down 0.2 percent. The
index of the 30 largest securities listed on the Saudi Arabian
Equity Market went live on Wednesday.
    The index's top two heavyweights Al Rajhi Bank and
Saudi Basic Industries fell 1.2 percent and 0.5
percent respectively.
    Separately, Saudi Arabia is set to join the emerging-market
indexes of MSCI and FTSE Russell later this year. That is
expected to attract $15 billion of "passive" benchmark-linked
funds and billions more in active funds, regardless of low oil
prices or geopolitical tensions.
    Saudi's economy grew at a pace of 2.21 percent in 2018,
buoyed by strong oil sector growth. The government did not break
down the fourth-quarter data, but full-year growth figures
suggested economic growth accelerated in the last quarter.

    In Dubai, the index rose 1.1 percent, boosted by a
1.5 percent increase in the emirate's biggest lender Emirates
NBD, and a 1.4 percent gain in Dubai Islamic Bank
(DISB).
    DISB, which fell in the last session after declaring a lower
dividend, was upgraded by Arqaam Capital, with a target price of
7.6 dirhams, up from 7.2 dirhams.
    The brokerage said it welcomed the improved allocation of
capital, retaining about 60 percent of its earnings rather than
paying out 60 percent as it had in the past.
    Deyaar Development increased 3.3 percent after
reporting a 7.4 percent rise in its full-year profit to 140.1
million dirhams($38.15 million).
    The Abu Dhabi index rose 0.8 percent with First Abu
Dhabi Bank gaining 1.1 percent. After market closed,
the firm reported a 3.9 percent gain its fourth-quarter profit
of 2.93 billion dirhams and raised its foreign ownership limit
to 40 percent from 25 percent. 
    Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) gained 3.7
percent. ADCB, Union National Bank (UNB) and Al Hilal
Bank agreed a merger to create the third-largest bank in the
United Arab Emirates, with $114 billion of assets. UNB traded
flat.
    Egypt's blue-chip index was up 0.2 percent. Ezz
Steel increased 4.8 percent, rising for a third
session after HC Research upgraded the stock to "overweight"
with price target of 27 Egyptian pounds.
    Qatar's index was flat with Vodafone Qatar
rising 3.3 percent.
 SAUDI       The index         fell 0.3 pct to 8,560 points
 ARABIA      
 DUBAI       The index          rose 1.1 pct to 2,568 points
 QATAR       The index        was flat at 10,720 points
 ABU DHABI   The index        rose 0.8 pct to 5,045 points
 EGYPT       The index          rose 0.2 pct to 14,127 points
 KUWAIT      The index        fell 0.2 pct to 5,430 points
 OMAN        The index        fell 1.2 pct to 4,166 points
 BAHRAIN     The index        was down 0.1 pct at 1,391
             points
 
($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

 (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in
Bengaluru;
Editing by Alison Williams)
  
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