Mideast Stocks: Saudi index outperforms as financials boost; Egypt falls

Saudi Arabia's Dur and Taiba in merger talks

  
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 Arabian shares ended higher on Sunday, outperforming other Gulf peers, buoyed by gains in banking stocks, while Egypt's blue-chip index extended losses.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index advanced 0.9%, lifted by a 3.8% rise in Al Rajhi Bank and a 3.6% increase in Saudi Telecom Company.

Elsewhere, Dur Hospitality Co finished 0.6% higher after the firm said it is in merger talks with Taiba Investments Co that could create a company with combined assets worth $2.4 billion across the kingdom's hotel, tourism and real estate sectors. 

However, Taiba Investments, which has interests in hotels, tourism facilities and real estate, traded flat.

In Abu Dhabi, the index lost 0.2%, with First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country's largest lender, dropping 1.1%, while aquaculture firm International Holding declined 0.8%.

From June 15 Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) second-most populous emirate, will limit entry to shopping centres, restaurants, cafes and other public places to those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or recently tested negative for the coronavirus. 

Daily coronavirus cases in the UAE, a federation of seven emirates, have risen over the past three weeks.

Dubai's main share index traded flat as gains in property shares were offset by declines in financial stocks.

The Qatari benchmark added 0.2%, helped by a 1.6% gain in petrochemical maker Industries Qatar.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index closed 0.9% lower, as most of the stocks on the index were in negative territory including Fawry for Banking Technology and Electronic.

Egypt's annual urban consumer inflation accelerated to 4.8% in May from 4.1% the previous month, official statistics agency CAPMAS said on Thursday, led by increases in food prices.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, Editing by William Maclean) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))


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