October 13, 2019 / 1:53 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks fall as most of Gulf markets rise

    * Bank shares slip on Saudi market
    * But Qatar banks rise, boosting main index
    * Arabtec jumps on Trojan merger plan
    * Lender CIB leads losses in Egyptian blue chips 

    By Maqsood Alam  and Shamsuddin Mohd
    Oct 13 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian stocks fell on Sunday led
by banks, while most Gulf markets gained, mirroring Friday's
surge in global peers after talks between the United States and
China progressed towards a resolution of their trade war. 
    Saudi Arabia's index retreated 0.8%. The kingdom's
largest lender National Commercial Bank and Riyad Bank
 dropped 2.4% and 2.3%, respectively, ahead of company
earnings season starting this week.
    The banking stocks also fell as the Saudi central bank said
on Sunday that financial institutions in Saudi Arabia should
hire Saudi nationals for leading positions and, if they hire
foreigners, they will have to explain the reason to the
regulator.
    The Saudi bourse's main index has fallen in eight of nine
sessions this month, leaving it down 2.5% year to date. It had
gained more than 20% in the first four months of 2019 in the run
up to joining the MSCI and FTSE emerging-market indexes, which
helped attract billions of dollars from passive funds.
    However, escalating trade tensions, volatile oil prices and
growing geopolitical risks have hit the market since then and
kept active emerging market funds from investing in the kingdom.
    But gains in banking stocks boosted the Qatar index
which rose 0.6% with Masraf Al Rayan up 1.4%, and
Qatar National Bank adding a further 0.3% to the
previous session's gain after posting an increase in nine-month
net profit.
    Dubai's main share index was up 0.5%, led by a 2 %
rise in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties.
    Contractor Arabtec Holding surged 8.9% after
hiring an adviser on a potential merger with another
construction firm Trojan Holding, Reuters reported citing
sources.
    In Abu Dhabi, the index edged up 0.3%. International
Holding Company climbed 8.8% and Abu Dhabi Commercial
Bank rose 0.8%.
    Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index was down
0.6% with market heavyweight Commercial International Bank
 declining 1%.
    However, steel makers Ezz Steel and Egyptian Iron
And Steel both closed up 2.2% and 1.4% respectively,
buoyed by Egypt imposing temporary import fees of 16% on iron
billets and 25% on steel rebar for three years, a move designed
to boost local production.
    
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         was down 0.8% to 7,631 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        was up 0.3% to 5,088 points
 DUBAI         The index          rose 0.5% to 2,824 points
 QATAR         The index        was up 0.6% to 10,285 points
 EGYPT         The index          fell 0.6% to 14,220 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        was down 0.2% to 1,520 points
 OMAN          The index        was flat at 4,012 points
 KUWAIT        The index        was up 0.2% to 6,226 points
 
 (Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd and Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru;
Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
  
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