Most Gulf markets track oil prices higher, Abu Dhabi falls

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

Jan 23(Reuters) - Most Gulf stock markets closed higher on Monday, as oil prices climbed on robust demand outlook amid expectations of economic recovery in the world's top importer China, while Abu Dhabi bucked the trend.

Crude prices - a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets - extended last week's gains on Monday with Brent crude up 88 cents, or 1%, to $88.51 a barrel at 1247 GMT, their highest since November 18.

The benchmark index (.TASI) in Saudi Arabia added 0.4%, lifted by gains in banking and energy sector stocks with oil giant Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) rising 1.7%, while the world's largest Islamic bank by market capitalization Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) jumped 1%.

Among other stocks, East Pipes Integrated Company For Industry (1321.SE) surged 5.2% after it signed two separate contracts worth 569 million riyals ($151.5 million) on Sunday.

The Qatari index (.QSI) climbed 1.1%, extending its rally since Thursday with almost all its constituent stocks in positive territory.

The Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank (QNBK.QA) continued its gains with a 3.3% rise and Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB.QA) rose 2.3%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index (.FTFADGI) fell 0.3%, extending losses for four consecutive sessions. The country's biggest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD) dropped 2% and conglomerate Alpha Dhabi Holding (ALPHADHABI.AD) continued its slide since Wednesday, dropping 0.9%.

Dubai's benchmark index (.DFMGI) lost 0.1%, dragged down by a decline in industrial and heavyweight real estate sectors, with Emirates Central Cooling Systems (EMPOWER.DU) falling 2.5% and toll operator Salik (SALIK.DU) dipping 2.6%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index (.EGX30) added 0.4%, continuing its rally since Wednesday.

"The Egyptian stock market maintained its gains while the country continued to secure financing deals to cope with the impact of current global conditions", said Farah Mourad, Senior Market Analyst of XTB MENA.

Egypt has signed a $1.5 billion financing agreement with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation to fund its trading, including imports of energy products and essential commodities.

Reporting by Md Manzer Hussain; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

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