|10 December, 2018

Mideast Stocks: Egypt enjoys best day in two years, oil pressures Gulf

Dubai's Emaar, Union Properties hit five-year low

A view from the Egyptian stock market in Cairo November 26, 2012.

A view from the Egyptian stock market in Cairo November 26, 2012.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Egypt's blue-chip index rose on Monday for its biggest one-day gain in two years, after the country's annual inflation dipped. Real estate continued to weigh on Dubai.

Egypt's annual urban consumer price inflation dipped to 15.7 percent in November from 17.7 percent in October, the official statistics agency CAPMAS said on Monday, exceeding analysts' expectations.

Inflation had spiked in October because of supply problems in the domestic fruit and vegetable market. 

The Egyptian blue-chip index jumped 2.8 percent, with 26 of its 30 stocks gaining.

It follows an almost 30 percent drop in the larger EGX 100 index since May this year.

"We do believe as long as inflation numbers are under control, the government will not be pressed to increase interest rates, helping liquidity to circulate into local investments," said Tariq Qaqish, managing director for asset management at Menacorp Financial Services in Dubai said.

The country's largest lender, Commercial International Bank, added 4.8 percent. The Middle East's biggest investment bank, EFG Hermes , gained 4.9 percent.

El Sewedy Electric rose 4.9 percent after it said its unit had signed a contract to develop land at Ain Sokhna economic zone.

Sixth Of Development and Investment (SODIC) climbed 5.5 percent. It said on Sunday that it would pay 800 million pounds ($44.79 million) as part of a settlement deal with the Illicit Gains Authority.

Meanwhile, Madinet Nasr For Housing And Development gained 6.7 percent after saying it was still interested in merging with SODIC

In Dubai, the index lost 2 percent, continuing to hover at its lowest level in more than five years. Union Properties sank 10 percent to trade at its lowest in more than five years, while Emaar Properties slumped 4.6 percent to hit a more than five year closing low.

But Islamic Arab Insurance rose 5.4 percent after Goldilocks Investment Company, a unit of the Abu Dhabi Financial Group, increased its ownership in the firm to 14.1 percent.

The Abu Dhabi index dropped 1 percent, pressured by its banks. The index heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank shed 0.9 percent and the head of equities at its asset management group left, Reuters reported citing two sources familiar with the matter. 

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank fell 3.8 percent. The bank's Egyptian unit, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Egypt, said on Sunday that it expected a fall of up to 8 percent in its 2019 profit due to tax changes in Egypt.

Saudi Arabia's main index slid 0.3 percent with oil weighing on its banks and petrochemical shares.

Oil fell on Monday, in line with further declines in global stock markets, erasing the gains made last week when OPEC and other key exporters agreed to cut their crude output from January.

Riyad Bank shed 2.3 percent and the top petrochemical maker, Saud Basic Industries, fell 0.7 percent.

But Bupa Arabia For Cooperative Insurance Company gained 2.7 percent after it said it will provide health insurance services to National Commercial Bank's 1180.SE employees and their families for 2019. National Commercial Bank added 0.6 percent.

Qatar's index fell 0.5 percent with Qatar Navigation falling 2 percent and Qatar Fuel  losing 1.4 percent.

SAUDI ARABIA * The index lost 0.3 percent to 7,820 points. DUBAI * The index  slid 2 percent to 2,500 points ABU DHABI * The index lost 1 percent to 4,789 points QATAR * The index lost 0.5 percent to 10,556 points. EGYPT * The index rose 2.8 percent to 12,476 points KUWAIT * The index lost 0.7 percent to 5,402 points. BAHRAIN * The index was flat at 1,318 points. OMAN * The index lost 1 percent to 4,503 points.

(Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King) ((abinaya.vijayaraghavan@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S.+1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 2733; Reuters Messaging: abinaya.vijayaraghavan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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