June 14, 2018 / 1:20 PM / 6 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi, Qatar rise, but Dubai sags as Eid holiday begins

DUBAI, June 14 (Reuters) - The Abu Dhabi stock exchange ended higher on Thursday, helped by shares in sector majors First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and Etisalat, and neighbouring Dubai ended lower as property shares weighed on the exchange.

Abu Dhabi’s main index jumped 1.8 percent, as shares in the United Arab Emirates’ biggest lender FAB gained 3.3 percent and Etisalat, one of the country’s two telecoms, rose 2.1 percent.

The UAE Central Bank, like most Gulf counterparts, quickly followed the United States Federal Reserve decision to raise its target range for the federal funds interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point, to between 1.75 percent and 2 percent.

In Dubai, the index closed down 0.4 percent as shares in flagship builder Emaar Properties shrank 0.9 percent and shares in DAMAC Properties, another major Dubai developer, ended the day 1.2 percent lower.

The UAE announced overnight another round of initiatives to stimulate economic growth, which this time included a relaxation of its visa regime for foreigners entering the country.

The UAE has announced several plans targeted at boosting the economy in recent weeks, but it remains unclear what impact they will have.

Energy and financial shares helped Qatar’s index rise 0.2 percent. Qatar Gas Transport shares surged 3.2 percent and Qatar Islamic Bank and Masraf Al Rayan each increased 1.5 percent.

Gulf markets have been mixed this week amid muted trading and profit taking ahead of the Eid holiday which started this week.

Trading in the Gulf is usually muted ahead of holidays as some traders cash in shares and are generally cautious of any developments in global markets during the closure of their bourses.

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange was closed on Wednesday and Thursday and Oman’s Muscat bourse was also closed on Thursday. Other exchanges are scheduled to be closed for at least one day next week, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai. SAUDI ARABIA * The index was closed. DUBAI * The index fell 0.4 percent to 3,038 points. ABU DHABI * The index rose 1.8 percent to 4,715 points. QATAR * The index rose 0.2 percent to 9,098 points. KUWAIT * The index rose 0.3 percent to 4,823 points. BAHRAIN * The index rose 0.9 percent to 1,307 points. OMAN * The index was closed. EGYPT * The index rose 0.3 percent to 16,221 points. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell Editing by Alison Williams)

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