Mideast Stocks: Emirates NBD hits 12-year high, leads Dubai higher

Dubai enjoys best day in 3-1/2 years

Image used for illustrative purpose. A customer uses an ATM machine at the Emirates NBD head office in Dubai, UAE January 30, 2018.

Image used for illustrative purpose. A customer uses an ATM machine at the Emirates NBD head office in Dubai, UAE January 30, 2018.

REUTERS/Satish Kumar

The Dubai stock market rose sharply on Monday, for its biggest one-day gain in three and half years, boosted by top lender Emirates NBD which closed at a 12-year high.

In Dubai, which had been one of the worst performing Gulf stocks in August, the index jumped 4.8%, to its biggest intra-day gain since January 2016, on back of Emirates NBD, which swelled 14.9%.

The lender reached to its highest level since October 2007, after it raised foreign ownership limit to 20% from 5% with immediate effect. 

The bank also announced its intention to raise that limit to 40% in future after seeking approval from its shareholders and the regulatory authorities.

"We expect a strong reaction in the stock of ENBD today and in the coming few days," said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital.

"In fact we think this can trigger a rally in all UAE stocks, especially banks, where foreign ownership has been a constraint. This shall also result in higher overall volumes and the market can be a strong performer for the rest of the year."

Egypt's blue-chip index closed 1.2% higher, touching its highest level since mid-April, with country's largest lender Commercial International Bank rising 2.4% and El Sewedy Electric was up 5.8%.

On Thursday, the latter signed a 327 million Egyptian pound ($19.79 million) contract with Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company.

Egypt Kuwait Holding ended 3% higher following an update on unit's concession in North Sinai gas field.

Saudi Arabia's stock index rebounded 0.7%, snapping a three-day losing streak, with Al Rajhi Bank adding 1.5% and Saudi British Bank advancing 2.3%.

On Wednesday, a second batch of Saudi shares was added to the MSCI emerging markets index after the country's stocks were first included in the index in May.

But the event was eclipsed by Saudi banks which traded lower as receding passive fund flows weighed on investor sentiments.

The Abu Dhabi index added 0.7%, offsetting some losses from the previous session. Emirates Telecommunications rose 1.9% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank  surged 4.3%.

Qatar's index also ended positive to close 0.2% higher with Qatar International Islamic BankQIIB.QA climbing 3.3% and Doha Bank  hiking 4.6%.

($1 = 16.5200 Egyptian pounds)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Alison Williams) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

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