The Abu Dhabi stock market ended higher on Sunday, buoyed by a surge in its top lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) on expectations that an upcoming review by MSCI of its emerging markets index will increase the bank's index weighting and spur foreign fund flows into its shares.
The benchmark index jumped 3.5%, its biggest intraday gain since mid-January, with First Abu Dhabi bank surging more than 10%.
"The bank has gained significant interest, ever since it completed the takeover of Bank Audi Egypt," said Mohamad Ibrahim, regional director at Exness.
With the bank now reporting promising numbers across the board and looking to expand its business footprint beyond just locally, investor sentiment appears to be positive across the board, added Ibrahim.
MSCI announced on Thursday that it would review the MSCI Emerging Markets index some time this month. Analysts expect First Abu Dhabi Bank's weighting in the index could be increased given its recent strong performance and expansion plans.
Dubai's main share index, however, retreated 1.2%, ending four sessions of gains. Emirates NBD Bank dropped 2%, while blue-chip developer Emaar Properties declined 2.5%.
In Oman, the index edged up 0.2%, helped by a 0.5% gain in Bank Muscat.
** Other major Middle Eastern Markets including Saudi Arabia remained closed for the Eid-ul-Fitr holidays.
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))