February 24, 2019 / 2:07 PM / in a month

REFILE-MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai hits 2-month high, Saudi hurt by financials

 (Adds word costs, paragraph 13)
    By Nafisa Eltahir
    DUBAI, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Dubai stocks rose to a more than
2-month high on Sunday after falling in the previous session,
helped by strong gains in property stocks, while financials
weighed on both the Saudi and Qatari markets.
    Dubai's index was up 1.3 percent, supported by
Emaar Properties, which gained 3.2 percent, DAMAC
Properties surged 8.4 percent and Emaar Malls
 rose 5.1 percent. 
    Emirates NBD Bank fell 5.3 percent after the bank
last week announced it has received approval from its
shareholders to issue new shares.
    Property firms have led a recent rally after signs of
recovery in their fourth-quarter results and more construction
contracts. 
    However they remain vulnerable to falling property prices.
    Dubai residential property prices, which have fallen 25 to
33 percent in nominal terms since 2014, are likely to fall
another 5 to 10 percent this year, S&P Global Ratings said last
week.
    Saudi Arabia's Tadawul index fell 0.4 percent,
weighed down primarily by Al Rajhi Banking which fell
almost 1 percent. Market heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries
 was down 0.7 percent. 
    The Saudi market is consolidating after a strong rally in
January due to an increase in foreign fund flows ahead of the
market's inclusion in key emerging market benchmarks later this
year. The index is up 9 percent year to date.
    The Qatari index was flat with lender Masraf Al Rayan
 up 2.5 percent, but the Gulf's biggest lender Qatar
National Bank was down 1.5 percent. 
    Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, which index
compiler FTSE Russell said will still be included in its
emerging market index but with an increased free float, was down
0.23 percent. 
    The Abu Dhabi index was up nearly 1 percent with
First Abu Dhabi Bank gaining almost 1.7 percent. 
    Egyptian stocks, which have been Middle East's
biggest gainer this year, were down 1.3 percent with Commercial
International Bank Egypt down 2.2 percent.     
    Egyptian stocks are still up 14.7 percent so far this year
amid a recent recovery in emerging markets and an expected drop
in borrowing costs after the central bank recently cut interest
rates.    
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         down 0.4 pct to 8,513 points
 DUBAI         The index          up 1.3 pct at 2,669 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        up 0.8 pct to 5,140 points
 Qatar         The index        flat at 10,190 points
 EGYPT         The index          down 1.3 pct to 14,955
               points
 KUWAIT        The market was closed due to a public holiday
 BAHRAIN       The index        up 0.80 pct to 1,415 points
 OMAN          The index        flat at 4,053 points
 
 (Reporting by Nafisa Eltahir; editing by Jason Neely)
  
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