Mideast Stocks: Blue-chip sell-off trips up Egypt

Broad-based gains pushed the Qatari bourse higher on Thursday

  
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

Broad-based gains pushed the Qatari bourse higher on Thursday, with financial stocks leading the pack, whereas a wide sell-off pulled down Egypt's blue-chip share index.

In Qatar, the benchmark share index advanced 1%, as most of its constituents ended higher. Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's biggest lender, gained 2.8%, while petrochemical firm Industries Qatar added 1.9%.

Elsewhere, Commercial Bank was up 1.5%.

On Wednesday, the Qatari cabinet approved a draft resolution that aims to raise the percentage of Qataris working at state-owned companies or where the state is an investor to 60%, state news agency QNA reported. 

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index slid 1.5%, with 27 of its 30 stocks declining. Commercial International Bank fell 1.1% and Cleopatra Hospital tumbled 4.9%.

The benchmark index in Saudi Arabia edged up 0.3%, with Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services rising 2%.

Arqaam Capital said in a research note on Tuesday that the health-care firm which went public in March, and now meets the minimum three months of trading, will be included in FTSE indexes in September with about $39 million of passive inflows.

Dubai's main share index slipped 0.1%, hurt by a 2.5% fall in budget airliner Air Arabia and a 1.5% drop in logistic firm Air Arabia.

The coronavirus outbreak delivered a blow to Dubai, one of the most visited cities globally, where tourism accounts for more than 11% of GDP. Dozens of hotels closed while occupancy rates fell to less than 10% in others. 

The Abu Dhabi index lost 0.4%, with First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country's largest lender, falling 0.7%, while aquaculture firm International Holding was down 1.5%.

However, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank added 0.6%.

On Monday, the sharia-compliant lender said it had raised its foreign ownership limit to 40% from 25%. 

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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