Mideast Stocks: Banks boost UAE bourses as Gulf markets rise

SABIC picks banks for dollar bond

An investor uses his mobile phone at the Dubai Financial Market.

An investor uses his mobile phone at the Dubai Financial Market.

REUTERS/Mosab Omar

Major stock markets in the Middle East ended higher on Wednesday, with top lenders in the United Arab Emirates, which have major exposure to NMC Healthcare, gaining after the troubled company sought a debt moratorium for its business.

NMC Healthcare LLC said it plans to file for administration in Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM) and seeks a debt moratorium for the business as part of a three-year business plan. The UAE-based hospital group went into administration in April after months of turmoil over its finances.

Dubai's main share index gained 1%, led by a 2.9% rise in lender Emirates NBD Bank and a 1.7% increase in Emaar Properties.

Emirates NBD has an exposure of 747.3 million dirhams ($203.47 million), including 676.5 million dirhams linked to its unit Emirates Islamic Bank.

The Abu Dhabi index advanced 1.2%, with First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country's largest lender, rising 1.3%. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, which has a $981 million exposure to NMC Health, jumped 4.2%.

The United Arab Emirates has connected the first unit at its Barakah nuclear power plant to the national power grid, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (ENEC) said on Wednesday. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index ended flat, with Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) losing 0.8%, as the world's fourth-biggest petrochemicals firm picked banks to arrange a U.S. dollar denominated bond issue, Reuters reported, citing two sources. 

In Qatar, the index rose 0.4%, helped by a 1.8% gain in Qatar Fuel.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index closed up 0.8%, as most of the stocks on the index were in positive territory, including GB Auto, which was up 4.3%.

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

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

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