July 17, 2019 / 7:50 AM / 5 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi shares rise, led by banks; other Gulf markets mixed

July 17 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s stock index rose for the eighth straight session on Wednesday, led by its banks, while other Gulf markets were mixed, with financial stocks dragging Abu Dhabi lower.

Saudi Arabia’s main index gained 0.1. The index has been rising since EFG Hermes forecast profit for the kingdom’s financial sector would grow 7.6% in the second quarter.

Al Rajhi Bank edged up 0.1%. Saudi Telecom rose 0.5%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index slid 0.3%, pressured by First Abu Dhabi Bank, which dropped 0.7%, and Emirates Telecommunications, which shed 0.6%.

The Dubai index declined 0.2%, led by losses in its largest listed developer, Emaar Properties, down 0.6%.

However, Emirates NBD was up 0.4% after the bank recorded a net profit of 4.74 billion dirhams ($1.29 billion) in the second-quarter of 2019, a 80% surge mainly caused by asset sales and foreign exchange gains.

Qatar’s index advanced 0.2% with Doha Bank rising 3.7% and Qatar Gas Transport up 1.3%.

The former is scheduled to report its first-half earnings next week. The latter posted 7% growth in first-half net profit.

Kuwait’s index gained 0.2%. It has been boosted by MSCI’s decision to move Kuwaiti equities to its main emerging-market index in 2020 and is up more than 28% this year, outperforming its Gulf peers. ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King)

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