Mideast Stocks: Saudi up on petrochemical shares; Egypt extends losses

Aramex extends gains following a 22% stake sale in co

  
Saudi men inspect a screen showing stock prices at ANB Bank in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia September 16, 2019.

Saudi men inspect a screen showing stock prices at ANB Bank in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia September 16, 2019.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

Saudi Arabian shares ended higher on Sunday as Saudi Industrial Investment Group and National Petrochemical Company  surged on news the two were in merger talks, while Egypt's blue-chip index extended losses for a second session.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.3%, with SIIG advancing 5.5% and National Petrochemical Company jumping 6.8%. 

A deal between the two would mark further consolidation in the Saudi petrochemicals sector after oil giant Saudi Aramco bought a 70% stake in Saudi Basic Industries in June. Saudi Aramco was up 0.8%.

Dubai's main share index reversed earlier losses to close flat. Emirates NBD Bank dropped 0.9%, while sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank was down 0.7%.

Logistics firm Aramex however climbed 3.4%, extending gains from the previous session. On Thursday, Abu Dhabi-backed holding company ADQ said it had acquired about a 22% stake in Aramex, making it the firm's biggest shareholder. 

The Abu Dhabi index gained 0.8%, buoyed by a 2.2% rise in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 1.7% increase in Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

Last week, ADIB signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel's Bank Leumi to explore areas for future cooperation in the United Arab Emirates, Israel and other international markets. 

In Qatar, the index slipped 0.3%, hurt by a 1.7% decline in petrochemical maker Industries Qatar.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index dropped 0.7%, with most of the stocks on the index in negative territory including Commercial International Bank, which fell 0.5%.

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

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