Egypt's index outperforms regional peers; Saudi extends losses

An investor monitors a screen displaying stock information at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange June 25, 2014

Dec 4 (Reuters) - Egypt's blue-chip index outperformed regional peers to close higher on Sunday, while Saudi and Qatari stocks slipped on weakness in the financial and petrochemical sectors.

Oil prices, which fuel the region's growth, fell 1.5% in choppy trading on Friday ahead of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) on Sunday and an EU ban on Russian crude on Monday.

They could fall further this week after OPEC+ agreed to stick to its oil output targets on Sunday but volatility is likely to continue after G7 countries and Australia also agreed a price cap on Russian oil.

Daniel Takieddine, CEO MENA at BDSwiss, noted OPEC’s policy could continue affecting production levels while COVID-19 restrictions in China, albeit easing, fuel demand uncertainties.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index (.TASI) fell 0.9%, with Sabic Agri-Nutrients (2020.SE) down 4.2% and Sulaiman al-Habib Medical Services (4013.SE) 1.2% lower.

Separately, Saudi oil behemoth Aramco's (2222.SE) base oil subsidiary Luberef announced its IPO price range between 91 and 99 riyals each.

Luberef will sell nearly 30% of the company's issued share capital, or 50.045 million shares and expects to raise up to 4.95 billion riyals ($1.32 billion) if it prices its IPO at the top of the range.

Saudi Aramco was down 0.3%.

In Qatar, the index (.QSI) finished flat, as gains in energy stocks were partially offset by losses in financial stocks.

Islamic lender Qatar Islamic Bank (QISB.QA) fell 1.1%, but energy firm Mesaieed Petrochemical rose 2.3%.

Egypt's blue-chip index (.EGX30) closed 3.2% higher, extending a rally for a fourth consecutive session as 27 out of its 30 constituent stocks moved were in positive territory. Fawry Banking & Payment Technology Services (FWRY.CA) surged 8.6% and E-finance (EFIH.CA) advanced 5.2%.

Takieddine attributed the Egyptian stock market's rise to local investors flocking to the market, driving high trading volumes.

($1 = 3.7585 riyals)

Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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