May 21, 2019 / 1:51 PM / in a year

MIDEAST STOCKS-Global rally lifts most of Gulf, blue-chips drag Qatar

    * 11 of 12 Saudi banks rise
    * Dubai's National Cement gains on asset purchase
    * Dana Gas surges on drilling commencement
    * Qatar's Mesaieed ends six days of gains
    * El Sewedy jumps on new firm establishment

    By Ateeq Shariff
    May 21 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market rose sharply
on Tuesday, leading gains in most major Gulf bourses amid a
global rally after Washington temporarily eased trade
restrictions imposed last week on China's Huawei. Qatar dropped
on wide sell-off.
    Saudi's index increased 1.7%, with Al Rajhi Bank
 adding 2.2% and Saudi Basic Industries up
    "Middle East today is following the positive lead from
Global markets. Local sentiment is also better as evidenced by
the strong moves in small cap stocks," said Vrajesh Bhandari
senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital.
    "We expect Saudi Arabia to continue its upward trend until
at least the MSCI effective date May 28," added Vrajesh.
"Thereafter, investors need to be selective & follow a bottom up
approach. Overall, we find better value in UAE & Egypt."
    MSCI last week said it would include MSCI Saudi Arabia in
its emerging-markets index, effective May 28, a move that could
draw billions of dollars into the market.
    Saudi International Petrochemical closed 3.4%
higher. The firm completed the merger of equals with Sahara
Petrochemical, which delisted on May 20.
    Qatar's index was down 2%, with 17 of its 20 stocks
    Middle East's largest lender, Qatar National Bank,
dropped 2.4%, while Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding
plunged 10%, snapping a six-day winning streak triggered by the
stock inclusion in MSCI's index.
    Egypt's blue-chip index, gained 1.7% as most of its
stocks rose, with Market heavyweight Commercial International
Bank gaining 0.9%.
    El Sewedy Electric jumped 5.9% after it partnered
with General Authority For Suez Canal Economic Zone to establish
a new company with issued capital of 1 billion Egyptian pounds 
($58.82 million), in which the firm will own 49%.
    Abu Dhabi's index closed 1.1% higher, led by a 1.3%
increase in the country's largest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank
    Dana Gas jumped 4.1% after the energy firm said it
had started drilling operations at Merak-1 well, offshore
    National Marine Dredging soared 13.9% after last
week reporting a higher first-quarter earnings.
    The Dubai index rose 1% as all but one of its real
estate stocks rose.
    Emaar Properties, Dubai's largest
listed-developer, increased 2.9% while its units Emaar Malls
  and Emaar Development were up 2.3 and
3% respectively.
    The United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday that it will grant
6,800 foreign investors permanent residency under a new "Golden
Card" system after they invested a combined 100 billion dirhams
($27.23 billion) in the Gulf state.
    National Cement Company was up 1.7% after news it
had bought ARM Cement's Kenyan assets for $50 million.

    Arabtec Holding rebounded 2.1%, snapping four
straight sessions of losses on weak first-quarter earnings.
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         rose 1.7% at 8,609 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        was up 1.1% at 4,782 points
 DUBAI         The index          added 1% to 2,539 points
 QATAR         The index        lost 2% to 9,701 points
 EGYPT         The index          was up 1.7% at 13,614 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        gained 0.9% to 1,409 points
 OMAN          The index        slid 0.1% to 3,842 points
 KUWAIT        The index        increased 0.9% to 6,058 points
($1 = 3.7500 riyals)

($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirham)

($1 = 17.0000 Egyptian pounds)

 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru
Editing by Frances Kerry)
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