Mideast Stocks: Banks hold back Saudi, Egypt rebounds on lender COMI

Eight of 11 Saudi banks drop

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

Saudi Arabia's stock market fell on Monday, pulled down by losses in banking shares, while Egypt rebounded on the back of its top lender Commercial International Bank (COMI).

In Saudi Arabia, the benchmark index lost 0.8%, with Al Rajhi Bank shedding 1.1% and Riyad Bank sliding 3.5%. Earlier in the day, Riyad Bank had risen after announcing a higher dividend for the second half.

Elsewhere, oil giant Saudi Aramco lost 0.7%, after two days of gains. Last Tuesday, Aramco said Goldman Sachs may buy more of its shares to support the price. The so-called stabilisation period will end on Jan. 9.

Egypt's blue-chip index added 0.9%, buoyed by a 1.1% increase in the country's biggest lender Commercial International Bank and a 2.9% rise in Eastern Company.

By contrast, Ezz Steel decreased by 1.1% after it reported stand-alone losses for the first nine months of the year after posting a profit in the same period of 2018.

In Abu Dhabi, the index rose 0.4%, driven by a 0.7% gain in First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 14.3% surge in Commercial Bank International.

But Eshraq Investments declined 0.9% after announcing it would not reduce capital to cover accumulated losses.

The Dubai index slipped 0.2%, with Mashreq BankMASB.DU plunging 9.9% and Emirates NBD Bank shedding 0.8%.

However, the index found some support from Dubai Islamic BankDISB.DU and Emaar Development, which were up 0.5% and 1.8%, respectively.

The Dubai government will increase spending by 17%, to a record 66.4 billion dirhams ($18.08 billion) in 2020, to stimulate the economy and support the Expo 2020 world fair, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing state news agency WAM. 

Qatar's main index rebounded 0.3% after a fall in the previous two sessions. Qatar National Bank rose 1.4% and Commercial Bank ended 3% higher.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Gareth Jones) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

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