Mideast Stocks: Most of Gulf little changed; blue-chips hurt Egypt

Mideast Stocks: Most of Gulf little changed; blue-chips hurt Egypt

  
Image used for illustrative purpose only. Traders work at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo, May 28, 2015.

Image used for illustrative purpose only. Traders work at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo, May 28, 2015.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Major Middle Eastern bourses ended little changed on Wednesday as investors remained cautious amid worries over a resurgence of global coronavirus cases.

New COVID-19 infections hit record highs in six U.S. states, while Beijing struggled to contain a fresh outbreak.

The Saudi benchmark index traded flat, with financials and petrochemical shares moving sideways. Riyad Bank added 0.8%, while petrochemical firm Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) eased 0.5%.

However, state-owned Saudi Aramco ended 0.3% higher after it said it had completed the acquisition of a 70% stake in SABIC for $69.1 billion. 

The Qatari index added 0.8%, led by a 1.7% rise in the Gulf's largest lender Qatar National Bank and a 3.9% increase in Qatar International Islamic Bank.

The Abu Dhabi index .ADI reversed earlier losses to close 1.1% up. The country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank gained 1.6%, while telecoms firm Etisalat was up 1.5%.

Abu Dhabi, the largest and wealthiest member of the United Arab Emirates federation, on Tuesday eased movement restrictions, allowing citizens and residents to leave the emirate freely without a permit but requiring them to enter it with one.

In Dubai, where vital sectors such as tourism and transport are at a near halt, the indexedged up 0.1%, helped by a 1.4% gain in lender Emirates NBD.

The blue-chip index in Egypt slipped 0.3%, as most of the stocks were in red. Commercial International Bank eased 0.3%, while Talat Mostafa slid 3%.

On Tuesday, the World Bank said it would provide $400 million to support universal health coverage in Egypt as the country struggles with rising numbers of new coronavirus cases. 

Egypt's health ministry has confirmed 47,856 coronavirus cases, and 1,766 deaths, with the daily increase in cases rising in recent weeks as the government has slightly eased some restrictions on movement.

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

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