Mideast Stocks: Saudi leads Gulf markets higher; Egypt retreats

All Saudi Arabian banks gain

  
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

Most Gulf bourses ended higher on Tuesday, with Saudi Arabia outperforming in the region on the back of banking shares, while the Egyptian index was hit by blue-chip sell-off.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index advanced 1.2%, buoyed by a 1.5% gain in oil giant Saudi Aramco and a 4.6% leap in Riyad Bank .

The kingdom's consumer price index jumped 6.1% in July compared with last year, boosted by a tripling of value-added tax, official data showed on Sunday.

Dubai's main share index rose 0.8%, extending gains for a sixth session, with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties jumping 3.6%, while its unit Emaar Malls gained 2%.

Dubai Islamic Bank, the country's largest sharia-compliant lender, advanced as much as 2.5%.

Arabtec Holding, however, declined 4.9% to extend losses for a third straight session.

The United Arab Emirates' largest listed contractor swung to a first-half loss and said in the weekend that it was seeking an adviser for debt restructuring.

This will be the third restructuring exercise for Arabtec in the last four years.

The Abu Dhabi index closed up 0.3%, helped by a 0.6% gain in telecoms company Etisalat and 2.7% rise in Aldar Properties.

A rebound in global stock markets, gradual reopening of world economies including the UAE, and the fact that the UAE market valuations are low compared with other GCC markets led the recent gains, said Khaled Abdel Majeed, fund manager at MENA Capital.

In Qatar, the index gained 0.8%. Lender Masraf Al Rayan climbed 2.2% and Commercial Bank leapt 3.4%.

The Gulf state expects the economy to contract this year due to low oil prices and the coronavirus crisis, after it shrank by 0.3% last year, the central bank said in a report on Monday. 

The blue-chip index in Egypt lost 0.6%, as most of the stocks were in red including Commercial International Bank, which declined 0.5%.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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