August 20, 2019 / 1:30 PM / 6 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar extends gains as global rally lifts most of Gulf

    * Qatar rises for third straight session
    * Abu Dhabi's Julphar plunges after recalling drug
    * Arabian Centres gains on first-quarter profit surge
    * Orascom Development increases on higher Q2 profit
    * Emaar Misr drops on lawsuit by businessman

    By Maqsood Alam 
    Aug 20 (Reuters) - Most Middle Eastern stock markets closed
higher on Tuesday, reflecting market optimism that U.S.-China
trade tensions could ease and stimulus measures by major
economies to counter a possible global economic slowdown.
    The United States said it would extend a reprieve that
permits China's Huawei Technologies to buy components from U.S.
companies, signalling a slight softening of the trade conflict
between the world's two largest economies.
    China's new lending reference rate was set slightly lower on
Tuesday, while Germany's right-left coalition government has
said it would be prepared to ditch its balanced budget rule and
take on new debt to counter a possible recession.

    Qatar's index rose 0.9% for the third straight day
with the Gulf's largest lender, Qatar National Bank
increasing 2% and Industries Qatar adding 1.7%.
    Qatar's index, down 3.6% in the year-to-date, has steadied
since the central bank on Thursday said Qatari economic growth
would accelerate over the next two years amid expectations of
stable oil prices and continued strong exports.
    In Abu Dhabi, the index increased 0.8% after two days
of losses. First Abu Dhabi Bank gained 0.7% while
Emirates Telecommunication Group was up 1.2%.
    But Abu Dhabi’s only listed pharmaceutical firm, Gulf
Pharmaceutical Industries (Julphar), plunged 9.8%
after recalling a single batch of its Laxocodyl suppository over
a labelling error.
    In Saudi Arabia, the index extended gains from the
previous session to close 0.3% higher in a boost mainly from
financial stocks. Samba Financial Group rose 2.8%
while Riyad Bank added 1.9%.
    Arabian Centres jumped as much as 4.3% before
closing 0.3% up. The mall operator reported a 180.4% increase in
its first-quarter profit to 227 million riyals ($60.53 million),
citing lower impairment loss and finance cost.
    Saudi Telecom added a further 0.7% to its gain on
Monday after saying it was working to terminate a broadcasting
agreement with General Sport Authority and the Saudi Arabian
Football Federation, citing a lack of commercial feasibility for
the agreement.
    Egypt's blue-chip index also rose 0.8% as most
companies traded higher. Alexandria Mineral Oils
surged 8.7%, while Orascom Development gained 2.7%
after posting a higher second-quarter profit.
    But Emaar Misr dropped 1.2% after an Egyptian
businessman filed a lawsuit against the developer claiming part
of the land at the Marassi project.
    Back in the Gulf, Dubai's index, closed roughly
flat as losses in the telecom sector outweighed the gains of
real estate stocks. Emirates Integrated Telecommunications
 dropped 1.6%.
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         was up 0.3% at 8,590 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        gained 0.8% to 5,069 points
 DUBAI         The index          slid 0.1% to 2,789 points
 QATAR         The index        rose 0.9% to 9,895 points
 EGYPT         The index          rose 0.8% to 14,428 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        was up 0.4% at 1,535 points
 OMAN          The index        gained 0.5% to 3,890 points
 KUWAIT        The index        added 0.6% to 6,643 points
 ($1 = 3.7504 riyals)

 (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru
Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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