August 26, 2019 / 1:10 PM / 21 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi inches up as trade tensions ease, cheaper valuations lift UAE

    * Saudi, Abu Dhabi snap 3-day losing streaks
    * Financials strong in Abu Dhabi
    * Real estate leads gains in Dubai
    * Industries Qatar weighs on Qatar
    * Top lender COMI drags Egypt

    By Shakeel Ahmad
    Aug 26 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stocks bounced back from
earlier losses on Monday with the United States and China
seeking to soothe trade tensions, while markets in the United
Arab Emirates rose after recent sell-offs made stock valuations
more attractive.   
    Beijing called for calm and U.S. President Donald Trump
predicted a trade deal between the world's two largest economies
after markets fell in response to new tariffs from both
countries. 
    Oil prices also rose on the concillatory signs, following
losses incurred after both the sides had levelled more tariffs
on each other's exports.
    The Saudi index was up 0.2% after falling in
previous three sessions with Banque Saudi Fransi
gaining 2.1% and Saudi Electricity adding 2.8%.
    Abu Dhabi's index rebounded 0.6% after three
consecutive days of losses, with Emirates Telecom
increasing 0.6% and market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank
 edging up 0.5%.
    A Qatari regulator said on Sunday it had fined First Abu
Dhabi Bank 200 million Qatari riyals ($55 million) for
obstructing an ongoing investigation into suspected market
manipulation, a charge the bank later denied.
    Dubai's index closed 0.5% higher, led by 1% rise in
the emirate's blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and
0.6% gain in Dubai Islamic Bank.
    "The UAE is doing rather well and I attribute that to the
fact that both Dubai and Abu Dhabi have lost 6% to 7% this month
alone from a benign starting point," said Vrajesh Bhandari,
senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital.
    "Therefore, valuations are reasonable, especially for
companies that have reported healthy second quarter results,"
Bhandari added. "Investors are adding exposure to high quality
companies."
    However he cautioned that it was necessary to keep a close
eye on global factors such as the U.S.-China trade talks, Oil
prices and interest rates that are likely to guide short-term
market direction.
    The Qatar index fell 0.3% with the Gulf's biggest
lender Qatar National Bank shedding 1% and Industries
Qatar dropping 1.4%. 
    Egypt's blue-chip index fell 0.4% with its top
lender Commercial International Bank dropping 1.2%. 
    
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         was up 0.2% at 8,258 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        rose 0.6% to 4,997 points
 DUBAI         The index          gained 0.5% to 2,729 points
 QATAR         The index        lost 0.3% to 9,788 points
 EGYPT         The index          fell 0.4% to 14,291 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        was down 0.2% at 1,531 points
 OMAN          The index        was flat at 3,927 points
 KUWAIT        The index        rose 0.5% to 6,527 points
 

 (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten
Donovan)
  
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