MIDEAST STOCKS-Petrochemicals aid Saudi shares, UAE up on financials

Dec 18 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s stock market edged up on Wednesday, led by petrochemical shares, while gains in financials lifted Dubai and Abu Dhabi stocks.

In Saudi, the index edged up 0.1%, with Saudi Basic Industries gaining 1.6% and National Commercial Bank (NCB) adding 0.5%.

On Monday, NCB and Riyad Bank decided to end preliminary merger talks, the two said in separate stock exchange filings. Riyad Bank was up 0.9%.

However, Saudi Aramco’s shares were down 2.1%, at 37 riyals ($9.87), on the first day of their inclusion into the MSCI emerging markets index.

The Dubai’s index rose 0.8% as Emirates NBD and Emaar Properties rose 1.2% and 1.5%.

Elsewhere, Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) was up 0.2% after saying that it had received shareholder approval for the acquisition of unlisted Dubai-based Noor Bank.

With the acquisition, the United Arab Emirates’ largest sharia-compliant bank will become one of the largest Islamic banks in the world, with total assets worth 275 billion dirhams ($74.9 billion), up from 230 billion dirhams as of the end of September.

The Abu Dhabi index inched up 0.1% with First Abu Dhabi Bank adding 0.1% and Abu Dhabi COmmercial Bank gaining 0.5%.

** Qatar was closed for a public holiday. ($1 = 3.7500 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King)