Mideast Stocks: NCB, Samba lift Saudi index; blue chips slide in Egypt

26 of 30 stocks on Egypt's index decline

  
A Saudi trader observes the stock market on monitors at Falcom stock exchange agency in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 7, 2018.

A Saudi trader observes the stock market on monitors at Falcom stock exchange agency in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 7, 2018.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Saudi Arabia's stock market ended higher on Tuesday, led by gains in National Commercial Bank and Samba Financial Group following their agreement to merge, while a blue-chip sell-off weighed on Egypt's index.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index .TASI rose 0.7%, with National Commercial Bank (NCB) jumping 6.9% and Samba Financial Group 1090.SE closing up 6.4%.

National Commercial Bank entered a binding merger agreement with smaller lender Samba Financial Group to create a combined entity with 837 billion riyals ($223 billion) in assets, NCB said on Sunday.

Dubai's main share index edged up 0.1%, helped by a 3.5% rise in logistic firm Aramex and a 6.2% jump in National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed).

Tabreed has hired banks to arrange for a potential issuance of U.S. dollar-denominated bonds, a document showed on Monday. 

Last month, the firm's board approved a potential issuance of up to $1 billion in bonds or sukuk, or Islamic bonds.

Human trials of Russia's COVID-19 vaccine, named Sputnik V, will be held in the United Arab Emirates, the second country after Belarus to take part in the programme with results expected before the end of November, Moscow said on Monday. 

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index fell 0.9%, as most of the stocks on the index retreated including Commercial International Bank Egypt , which was down 0.7%.

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

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