July 9, 2019 / 8:09 AM / 3 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi shares gain, led by banks; other Gulf markets muted

July 9 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian stocks rose on Monday, led by banking shares, while other Gulf markets were little changed.

The Saudi index added 0.1% with National Commercial Bank rising 0.6% and Banque Saudi Fransi was 0.7% higher.

EFG Hermes forecast second-quarter profits at Saudi financial firms would rise 7.6%, with National Commercial Bank profit rising 2%.

The market is up nearly 13% so far this year in a rally led by foreign investors.

Kuwait’s index rose 1%, extending gains for a ninth straight session. The index has been rising since MSCI said it would move Kuwaiti equities to its main emerging market index in 2020, a move that could trigger billions of dollars of inflows.

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.

The Dubai index edged up 0.1% with logistic firm Aramex gaining 1% and Emaar Properties adding 0.2%.

In Qatar, the index gained 0.1% with Qatar National Bank, the Gulf’s largest lender, increasing 1% and Qatar Gas Transport was up 1.8%.

The index fell in the last three sessions after a spate of gains following a 10-to-one stock split for companies on the exchange.

The Abu Dhabi index dropped 0.1% with Bank Of Sharjah plunging 5.2% after reporting on Sunday its first-quarter profit fell 38%. (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King)

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