July 9, 2019 / 1:24 PM / 8 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks lead most Gulf markets higher, Kuwait keeps rallying

    * Gulf banks strong after EFG Hermes forecast
    * Saudi's United Electronics gains on strong Q2 earnings
    * Kuwait surges for ninth day
    * Egypt's COMI rises on higher Q2 profit
    * Bank of Sharjah slips further on weak Q1 results

    By Ateeq Shariff
    July 9 (Reuters) - Major Gulf markets closed higher on
Tuesday, mostly riding on banks after Egypt's EFG Hermes
forecast a higher second-quarter profit for the Middle East's
financial sector, while Kuwait continued to rise for a ninth
straight session.
    EFG Hermes investment bank predicted over 10% year-on-year
growth in second quarter profit for the region's financial
sector, with United Arab Emirates seeing a 18.7% jump and Egypt
expecting a 19.5% surge.    
    The Saudi index added 0.3% with National Commercial
Bank rising 1.3% and Riyad Bank 0.7% higher.
    United Electronics rose 1.7% after the firm posted
a higher second-quarter profit and proposed a bigger first-half
    Kuwait's index rose 1.4% with National Bank of Kuwait
 and Boubyan Bank increasing 0.7% and 1.2%
respectively. The duo posted higher second-quarter profits after
market closed.
    The index has risen for the ninth straight session after
MSCI said it would move Kuwaiti equities to its main emerging
market index in 2020.
    Kuwait has outperformed its Gulf peers in anticipation of
the MSCI move, gaining over 27% year-to-date.
    Middle Eastern funds plan to continue increasing investments
in Kuwait over the next three months, a Reuters poll found
earlier this week.
    In Qatar, the index increased 0.6% with Qatar Gas
Transport gaining 2.7%, while lender Masraf Al Rayan
 was up 0.8%.
    Egypt's blue-chip index gained 0.4% with Commercial
International Bank increasing 0.7% after the firm
posted second-quarter profit of 2.71 billion Egyptian pounds 
($164 million), up from 2.40 billion year ago.
    The Abu Dhabi index gained 0.2% with First Abu Dhabi
Bank, the country's largest lender, closing 0.4% higher
and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) up 1.1%.
    But Bank Of Sharjah plunged a further 5.2%, having
closed 3.9% lower in the previous session after reporting a
steep fall in its first-quarter profit.
    The Dubai index traded flat with Emaar Properties
, its largest listed developer, adding 0.9%.
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         increased 0.3% to 8,854 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        rose 0.2% to 5,022 points
 DUBAI         The index          was flat at 2,656 points
 QATAR         The index        added 0.6% to 10,500 points
 EGYPT         The index          up 0.4% to 14,097 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        gained 0.4% to 1,538 points
 OMAN          The index        traded flat at 3,824 points
 KUWAIT        The index        was up 1.4% at 6,726 points
 ($1 = 16.5500 Egyptian pounds)

 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru;
Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)
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