Mideast Stocks: Banks boost Saudi index as Egypt outperforms the region

25 of thirty stocks on Egypt's index rise

Saudi men inspect a screen showing stock prices at ANB Bank in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia September 16, 2019.

Saudi men inspect a screen showing stock prices at ANB Bank in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia September 16, 2019.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

Saudi Arabia's stock market ended higher on the back of gains in the banking sector on Sunday, while the Egyptian bourse advanced with broad-based gains among its constituents.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index gained 1%, boosted by a 9.1% surge in Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services  and a 0.9% rise Al Rajhi Bank.

The kingdom extended for an additional period several government initiatives to support the private sector and investors in mitigating the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, state news agency SPA reported on Thursday. 

Elsewhere, Saudi dairy company Almarai 2280.SE added 1.2% after it reported a year-on-year rise in second-quarter profit.

The blue-chip index in Egypt, which traded after a two session break, closed 1.8% up, with 25 of the 30 stocks in the index rising.

That included heavyweight Commercial International Bank, which advanced 2.2%.

In Qatar, the index .QSI eased 0.3%, hurt by a 1.4% fall in lender Masraf Al Rayan and a 1% decline in the Gulf's largest lender Qatar National Bank .

Masraf Al Rayan and Al Khaliji Commercial Bank said on Tuesday they had begun negotiating a potential merger that could create a combined entity with more than 164 billion riyals ($45 billion) in total assets.

Dubai's main share index ended flat, as financials and property shares moved sideways. DAMAC Properties  jumped 5.6%.

On Wednesday, DAMAC saw its biggest intraday gain since March following a Reuters report that its chairman is weighing a buyout of minority shareholders and taking the company private. 

The Abu Dhabi index lost 0.2%, with telecom firms Etisalat falling 1.3%.

The UAE announced a broad government restructuring on Sunday for more "agile and swift" decision-making following the coronavirus pandemic, merging government entities and appointing new economy and industry ministers.

($1 = 3.7508 riyals)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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