Mideast Stocks: Egypt outperforms Mideast markets; Aramco's Q2 profit slides

UAE central bank temporarily relaxes rules on liquidity, funding

A trader works at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo, Egypt, December 3, 2015.

A trader works at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo, Egypt, December 3, 2015.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The Egyptian bourse rose sharply on Sunday, extending gains for a fifth straight session as most of its constituents were in positive territory, while the Saudi index ended higher helped by its financial shares.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.4%, led by a 0.8% gain in Al Rajhi Bank and a 1.5% increase in Banque Saudi Fransi .

Elsewhere, state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco 2222.SE added 0.3% despite reporting a steep decline in second-quarter earnings.

Aramco reported a net profit of 24.6 billion riyals ($6.56 billion) in second-quarter, down from 92.6 billion riyals a year earlier. 

But the company stuck with plans to pay $75 billion in dividends this year and CEO Amin Nasser said global oil demand was recovering.

Egypt's blue-chip index closed up 1.3%, with 22 of the 30 stocks in the index rising, including heavyweight Commercial International Bank, which advanced 2.1%.

Egypt and Greece signed an agreement on Thursday designating an exclusive economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean between the two countries, an area containing promising oil and gas reserves, Reuters reported, citing Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. 

Dubai's main share index retreated 0.7%, with Emirates NBD Bank and blue-chip developer Emaar Properties both falling 1.1%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index 0.6%, weighed down by a 1.1% fall in its largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 0.5% decrease in Emirates Telecommunications.

On Saturday, the United Arab Emirates' central bank said it was temporarily relaxing two key requirements to improve liquidity and funding needs of banks to encourage them to lend more to businesses under the COVID-19 economic stimulus plan.

The Qatari index slipped 0.1%, hurt by a 0.5% ease in Qatar National Bank.

($1 = 3.7501 riyals)

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

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