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UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Blue chips lift Saudi; Egypt extends sell-off
May 14, 2015 / 8:58 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Blue chips lift Saudi; Egypt extends sell-off

(Updates with Saudi Arabia, Egypt open)

DUBAI, May 14 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s stock market rose in early trade on Thursday on the back of blue-chip names, while a broad sell-off on Egypt’s bourse continued following the reduction of the country’s weighting in MSCI’s emerging markets index.

The main Saudi index edged up 0.7 percent as lenders Al Rajhi Bank and National Commercial Bank jumped 2.4 and 2.2 percent respectively.

Petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries surged 2.7 percent even as oil prices edged down on worries about global economic growth.

But telecommunications firm Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) fell 1.8 percent after the kingdom’s Capital Market Authority said on Wednesday it had referred the case of suspected insider trading at Mobily to public prosecutors.

The regulator said procedures relating to other suspected violations involving Mobily were ongoing. Earlier on Wednesday, Mobily said it was studying possibility of selling its telecommunications towers but had not reached any agreement yet. It was commenting on a Wall Street Journal report saying the firm planned to sell the towers for $2 billion.

Egypt’s market fell 1.3 percent as most stocks declined. The broad sell-off began on Wednesday after index compiler MSCI dropped Telecom Egypt from its emerging markets index, leaving only three Egyptian companies in the index, which some analysts say indicates a risk of the country eventually being excluded from the benchmark completely.

Telecom Egypt tumbled 7.5 percent on Thursday after falling its daily 10 percent limit in the previous session. (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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