April 14, 2019 / 7:40 AM / 7 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi outperforms on FAB's foreign ownership limit increase

DUBAI, April 14 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi stocks climbed over 2 percent early on Sunday, outperforming other Gulf bourses, as First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) surged to a more than two-month high after it obtained regulatory approval to increase its foreign ownership limit.

Foreigners will be allowed to own as much as 40 percent of FAB stock from a previous limit of 25 percent, lifting FAB shares by as much as 4.6 percent.

At 0712 GMT, FAB shares were trading at 15.52 dirhams ($4.23), their highest level since early February.

Dubai shares were flat on weakness in Emaar Properties, but shares of Emirates NBD were up 1.3 percent after the bank said it had sold more shares in the London initial public offering of Network International after exercising a greenshoe option.

Saudi stocks made a lacklustre start to the week due to weakness in financial stocks amid profit taking after robust gains in the Gulf region’s biggest stock market this year.

The index was trading 0.2 percent lower with National Commercial Bank down 0.9 percent and Riyad Bank down almost 1 percent.

The index is still up 16 percent so far this year, fuelled by an increase in foreign fund flows as it entered the FTSE Russell’s emerging-market index on March 18.

Qatari stocks were down 0.5 percent, weighed down by a 0.7 percent drop in market heavyweight Industries Qatar and a 1.4 percent drop in Qatar Insurance Co. .

$1 = 3.6729 UAE dirham Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Susan Fenton

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