May 18, 2020 / 12:35 PM / 8 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf stocks rise on higher oil prices; Saudi leads gains

    * Ten of 11 Saudi banks rise
    * Samba rises on Q1 profit
    * Aramco closes over IPO price
    * El Sewedy extends losses on profit decline

    By Maqsood Alam
    May 18 (Reuters) - Most major Gulf stock markets rose on Monday, lifted by
rising oil prices, led by Saudi Arabia after its banking sector got a boost from
upbeat corporate earnings.
    Oil prices climbed on Monday, supported by output cuts and signs of gradual
demand recovery amid easing coronavirus curbs. Brent crude jumped 6.1%
at $34.49 a barrel by 1041 GMT.
    Saudi Arabia's index rose 1.4%, with Al Rajhi Bank gaining
1.6%.
    Samba Financial Group jumped 4.3% after it reported a 19.6%
increase in first-quarter net profit, while the country's biggest lender
National Commercial Bank rose 2.3% after reporting a 2.1% rise in
quarterly profit.
    Saudi Aramco closed up 1.3% at 32.35 riyals above its initial
public offering price of 32 riyals, a mark it last touched on April 12.
    In Dubai, the index gained 0.4% with its biggest lender Emirates
NBD adding 3.2%.
    Union Properties jumped 3.1% after the real estate developer said
it would seek approval from shareholders to utilise statutory reserve to reduce
its accumulated losses, which stood at 2.14 billion dirhams ($582.68 million)
and represented nearly 50% of the capital at the end of 2019.

    The Qatari index ended up 0.8%, with Industries Qatar and
Qatar Islamic Bank rising 4% and 2.3%, respectively.
    A decliner was the Abu Dhabi index, down 0.1%, as the United Arab
Emirates' biggest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) retreated 0.4%.
    Reuters reported, through sources, that FAB put on hold discussions to
acquire the Egyptian assets of Lebanon's Bank Audi due to difficult
market conditions.
    In Egypt, the index fell 0.8%, dragged down by tobacco firm Eastern
Company declining 3.5%.
    El Sewedy Electric fell 4.8%, its fourth consecutive session of
losses, after the cable maker reported a more than 50% plunge in first-quarter
net profit.
    
 SAUDI ARABIA          rose 1.4% to 6,921 points
 ABU DHABI            edged down 0.1% to 4,061 points
 DUBAI                  gained 0.4% to 1,920 points
 QATAR                was up 0.8% to 8,765 points
 EGYPT                  slipped 0.8% to 10,279 points
 BAHRAIN              rose 0.6% to 1,254 points
 OMAN                 edged down 0.3% to 3,427 points
 KUWAIT               was up 1% to 5,196 points
 
($1 = 3.7560 riyals)

($1 = 3.6727 UAE dirham)

 (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)
  
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