Most Middle Eastern bourses gain; Abu Dhabi falls
Feb 15 (Reuters) - Most stock markets in the Middle East ended higher on Wednesday, with the Egyptian index extending gains and the Abu Dhabi bourse retreating after a drop in oil prices.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index (.TASI) climbed 0.7%, with Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services (4013.SE) leaping 5.2% and Riyad Bank (1010.SE) closing 2.7% higher.
Dubai's main share index (.TASI) added 0.1%, helped by a 3.9% jump in Emaar Development (EMAARDEV.DU) a day after it reported a rise in annual net profit.
Emaar Development, the real estate arm of blue-chip developer Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU), posted a net profit of 3.81 billion dirhams ($1.04 billion), up from 3.24 billion dirhams year ago.
Egypt's blue-chip index (.EGX30) gained 0.5%, trading close to an about 5-year high.
Egyptians and Arabs were net buyers of the stocks during the session and non-Arab foreigners were the net sellers, according to data on the exchange website.
Last week, Egyptian Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly confirmed that Egypt plans to sell government stakes in 32 companies starting in the first quarter of this year until the end of the first quarter of 2024.
In Abu Dhabi, the index (.FTFADGI) lost 0.3%, driven down by a 0.3% decrease in conglomerate International Holding (IHC.AD).
The Abu Dhabi stock bourse remained volatile, while uncertainty increased regarding the developments in oil markets, said Ahmed Negm, head of market research MENA at XS.com.
Oil - a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets - dropped for a second day as an industry report pointed to ample supplies in the United States and expectations of further interest rate hikes sparked concern over fuel demand and the economic outlook.
The Qatari index (.QSI), which traded after a session's break, advanced 0.6%, buoyed by a 5.3% jump in Qatar Islamic Bank (QISB.QA).
However, Qatar National Bank (QNBK.QA), the Gulf's biggest lender, dropped 1.5% as the stock traded ex-dividend.
According to Nejm, the Qatari market stabilized to a certain extent while natural gas prices stopped dropping during the last few days, but remained exposed to the downside.
($1 = 3.6729 UAE dirham)
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