Mideast Stocks: Saudi stocks gain as other major Gulf markets ease

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index added 0.3%


Most major stock markets in the Gulf slipped in early trading on Monday, hit by declines in financial shares, while the Saudi index bucked the trend to edge higher.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index added 0.3%, with Al Rajhi Bank rising 0.4% and Saudi National Bank, the kingdom's largest lender, gaining 1.1%.

Elsewhere, telecom firm Etihad Etisalat climbed 1.4%, after it reported a rise in quarterly net profit. 

Dubai's main share index fell 0.3%, pressured by a 1.5% fall in top lender Emirates NBD Bank, ahead of its board meeting on Tuesday to discuss first-half financial statements.

Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties dropped 0.8%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index was flat in choppy trade, a day after hitting a record high.

Dana Gas advanced 2.2%, on track to extend gains from the previous session, after the energy firm won an arbitration on the sale of assets in Egypt. 

The company said in April that IPR Wastani Petroleum Ltd, a member of the IPR Energy Group, had requested arbitration after Dana Gas cancelled a sale of oil and gas assets in Egypt. 

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi will reduce business setup fees to 1,000 dirham ($272.29), a 94% reduction from current rates, effective from July 27, as part of efforts to enable the private sector, Abu Dhabi media office said on Sunday. 

The Qatari benchmark lost 0.6%, with most of the stocks on the index down including Qatar Islamic Bank, which fell 2.2%.

($1 = 3.6726 UAE dirham)

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

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