January 9, 2019 / 1:06 PM / 5 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil lifts Saudi to 5-month high, most Gulf markets up

    * Al Ahsa Development gains after stake purchase
    * Commercial International pulls down Egypt
    * Property stocks boost Dubai 

    By Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Ateeq Shariff
    Jan 9 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market climbed to a
five month high on Wednesday, while most major Gulf markets also
gained as oil prices rose 2 percent on optimism over
U.S.-Chinese trade talks.
    Both crude price benchmarks added to Tuesday's gains and
have now been on the rise for eight straight days - their
longest rally since June 2017.
    The Saudi index rose 1.1 percent, helped by bank and
petrochemical stocks. Market heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries
 added 1.5 percent and Al Rajhi Bank was up
1.4 percent.
    Al Ahsa Development gained 2 percent after signing
an agreement to buy a 25 percent stake in Twareat Medical Center
for 15 million riyals ($4 million).
    Qatar's index was up 0.7 percent, lifted by gains in
Qatar Islamic Bank and Industries Qatar,
which rose 1.8 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
    The Egyptian blue-chip index edged down 0.3
percent, pressured by its biggest listed lender, Commercial
International Bank, which slid 2.1 percent. Commercial
International has the biggest weighting in the index.    
    The Dubai index climbed 0.4 percent, aided by
property shares. The emirate's largest listed developer, Emaar
Properties, added 2 percent and Dubai Investments
 rose 0.8 percent.
    Dubai's weak real estate market was a big drag for property
stocks last year. The downturn is forcing construction and
engineering firms to cut jobs and halt expansion plans, raising
risks for the wider economy.
    Abu Dhabi's index was up 0.5 percent, with the
region's largest bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, rising 0.8
percent, and Emirates Telecommunications edging up 0.4
 SAUDI       The index         rose 1.1 pct to 8,147
 ARABIA      points
 DUBAI       The index          gained 0.4 pct to 2,540
 QATAR       The index        was up 0.7 pct at 10,535
 ABU DHABI   The index        added 0.5 pct to 4,953
 EGYPT       The index          slid 0.3 pct to 13,366
 KUWAIT      The index        lost 0.3 pct to 5,387
 OMAN        The index        was flat at 4,311 points
 BAHRAIN     The index        gained 0.5 pct to 1,338
 ($1 = 3.7508 riyals)

 (Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Ateeq Shariff in
Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)
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