Mideast Stocks: Saudi, UAE markets rise on strong private sector growth

Abu Dhabi's index was up 1%


Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates' stock markets rose on Monday after a survey showed their private sectors registered strong growth last month, while other major Gulf markets also gained reflecting the global rally.

Saudi's index was up 0.4% in early trade with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 0.7% and petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries adding 1.4%.

Saudi Arabia's non-oil private sector growth rose to a 17-month high in May as credit conditions improved, output expanded and output prices increased, a monthly survey of companies showed on Monday.

The index has gained over 11% year-to-date in a rally that was led by foreign investors who have been net buyers of Saudi stocks every month this year.

Saudi stock exchange data released late on Sunday showed that foreigners had bought a net 17.62 billion riyals ($4.70 billion) of Saudi stocks last month.

Late last month the Saudi equity market joined the MSCI Emerging Market index, which is expected to trigger billions of dollars of foreign fund inflows.

Abu Dhabi's index was up 1%, lifted by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, which rose 1.5% and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), which increased 1.4%.

Growth in the United Arab Emirates' non-oil private sector rose in May at its fastest pace since October 2014, although job creation was largely stagnant, a survey showed on Monday.

In Dubai, real estate stock pushed the index up 0.8%. The emirate's blue-chip developer Emaar Properties rose 1.1% and Deyaar Development gained 3.4%.

Dubai Islamic Bank traded 1.6% higher after its board recommended acquisition of the private lender Noor Bank.

Qatar's index rose 0.7% with banks boosting the index. Middle East's largest lender Qatar National Bank climbed 3.2% ahead of a split of its stocks taking effect later this week.

A 10-to-one stock split for companies on the exchange has started to phase in from June 9, aiming to encourage small investors to invest to increase liquidity.

($1 = 3.7502 riyals) (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru; Andrew Cawthorne)

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