MIDEAST STOCKS Saudi leads major Gulf markets higher; blue-chip selloff hits Egypt

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An investor walks through the Dubai Financial Market after Joe Biden won the U.S. presidency, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates November 8, 2020. REUTERS/Christopher Pike

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Aug 3 (Reuters) - Major stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Tuesday, with the Saudi index gaining for a twelfth consecutive session, while a blue-chip selloff dragged the Egyptian bourse.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index (.TASI) reversed early losses to close 0.5% higher, led by a 1.2% gain in Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) and a 2.2% increase in Saudi National Bank (1180.SE), the kingdom's largest lender.

On Sunday, Al Rajhi posted a 48% jump in quarterly profit, helped by an increase in net financing and investment income, and fees from banking services. read more

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On the other hand, Bank Aljazira (1020.SE) retreated about 4%. The lender reported a higher second-quarter net profit, however, saw a decrease sequentially in earnings.

Saudi banks have benefited from growth in mortgages and an economic recovery this year following the easing of the lockdowns imposed to combat the outbreak of coronavirus.

Dubai's main share index (.DFMGI) added 0.2%, with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU) rising 0.8% and its unit Emaar Malls (EMAA.DU) advancing 2.1%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index .

The United Arab Emirates' non-oil private sector expanded at its fastest pace in two years in July as demand rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic, a business survey showed. read more

The Qatari benchmark (.QSI) finished 0.2% higher, with Qatar Islamic Bank (QISB.QA) rising 0.5%, while Qatar Aluminium Co (QAMC.QA) climbed 3.4%.

The aluminium maker is scheduled to report its first-half earnings on Thursday.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index (.EGX30) dropped 0.8%, as most of the stocks on the index were in negative territory including Fawry for Banking Technology and Electronics (FWRY.CA).

Egypt's central bank is expected to leave its overnight interest rates on hold at a meeting on Thursday, a Reuters poll shows, as mounting global and local inflationary pressures caution against a reduction.

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Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

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