June 21, 2018 / 1:45 PM / in 9 months

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi gains on MSCI decision, Dubai and Qatar also up

* Saudi Arabia gains after MSCI inclusion

* Dubai, Qatar rise, but Kuwait, Abu Dhabi down

* Air Arabia falls in Dubai on Abraaj concerns (Updates throughout)

By Alexander Cornwell

DUBAI, June 21 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian shares gained on Thursday, reflecting largely positive sentiment across the Gulf, after index provider MSCI announced overnight it would add the kingdom’s stock market to its emerging markets benchmark.

The addition was expected and Saudi Capital Market Authority Chairman Mohammed bin Abdullah Elkuwaiz told reporters it could help attract $40 billion in foreign inflows from funds.

But Kuwait’s index closed down after the MSCI also said that it would include it in its classification review next for a potential move from frontier to emerging markets.

Thursday was the last day of trading in the Middle East ahead of a meeting of oil producers in Vienna where Saudi Arabia is trying to convince fellow OPEC members of the need to raise oil output, according to sources familiar with the talks.

Saudi Arabia’s index gained 0.5 percent, helped by shares in insurance firms and financial institutions.

In Dubai, the index rose 0.2 percent as property and banking shares gained. Dubai’s largest listed developer Emaar Properties rose 1.2 percent and rival DAMAC Properties ended the day 1.3 percent higher.

However, budget airline Air Arabia weighed on the exchange, sinking 3.9 percent to extend losses this week amid concerns about its exposure to private equity company Abraaj, which last week filed for provisional liquidation.

Air Arabia said on Wednesday that it had $336 million in overall exposure to Abraaj but that the impact was limited to its investment portfolio and that there was no significant effect on the airline’s daily or future business.

In Qatar, the index rose 0.5 percent as blue chip Industries Qatar gained 1.8 percent and lender Masraf Al Rayan added 1.9 percent.

Abu Dhabi’s index was weighed down by telecom and financial shares, closing the day 0.3 percent down. SAUDI ARABIA * The index was up 0.5 percent to 8,206 points. DUBAI * The index gained 0.2 percent to 2,928 points. ABU DHABI * The index lost 0.3 percent to 4,535 points. QATAR * The index gained 0.5 percent to 8,923 points. KUWAIT * The index lost 0.2 percent to 4,804 points. BAHRAIN * The index gained 0.6 percent to 1,309 points. OMAN * The index gained 0.4 percent to 4,610 points. EGYPT * The index gained 1.3 percent to 16,346 points. (Additional reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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