United Kingdom

Ateeq Shariff

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most major Gulf stocks in red; Egypt extends gains

06 Feb 2020

* Banque Saudi Fransi dives on missing estimates * Aramco closes down at 33.4 riyals * UDC saw its biggest fall in 4 years By Ateeq Shariff Feb 6 Most major Gulf markets were subdued on Thursday as disappointing results weighed on their banking shares, while Egypt's blue-chip index extended gains for a third straight session. Saudi Arabia's benchmark index lost 0.5% with Banque Saudi Fransi the biggest drag. The lender plunged 5.3% after it missed full-year profit estimates. The bank recorded annual profit of 3.12 billion riyals ($831.69 million), up from 1.4 billion riyals a year ago. But, the figure was lower than an average analyst estimate of 3.35 billion riyals, according to Refinitiv IBES data. State-owned Saudi Aramco traded 0.7% lower at 33.4 riyals ($8.90), reaching its lowest since it started trading on Dec. 11. Egypt's blue-chip index gained 0.9% as most of its stocks rose. Tobacco monopoly Eastern Company advanced 3.5% and EFG Hermes was up 2.6%. Stock exchange data showed that foreign investors were net-buyers of Egyptian stocks. In Qatar, the index retreated 0.9%, hitting its lowest since December. Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's largest lender, decreased 1.4% and United Development Company (UDC) slumped 10%. The latter saw its biggest intraday fall since January 2016, after reporting a sharp fall in its annual profit and slashing its 2019 dividend to 5 dirhams from one riyal per share a year earlier. Dubai's main share index slipped 0.1% with its largest lender Emirates NBD dropping 1.1% and Dubai Islamic Bank was down 0.2%. National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed) was down 0.5%. The cooling solutions provider, commenting on potential acquisition of assets from Emaar Properties, said it was exploring acquisition opportunities in the region. Emaar Properties closed up 0.8%. The Abu Dhabi index edged up 0.1% as telecoms firm Etisalat added 0.6% and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank was up 1.1%. SAUDI ARABIA fell 0.5% to 8,053 points ABU DHABI added 0.1% to 5,087 points DUBAI eased 0.1% to 2,770 points QATAR fell 0.9% to 10,205 points EGYPT up 0.9% to 14,106 points BAHRAIN edged up 0.1% to 1,656 points OMAN was up 0.1% to 4,129 points KUWAIT gained 0.3% t0 6,984 points ($1 = 3.7514 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Major Gulf markets steady; Aramco hits lowest level since IPO

05 Feb 2020

* Arabian Centres slides on poor Q3 profit * TAQA extends gains on ADPower proposal * Telecom Egypt leaps after update on Vodafone Egypt By Ateeq Shariff Feb 5 Major Gulf stock markets were steady in quiet trade on Wednesday, while oil giant Saudi Aramco extended losses and hit its lowest mark since it began trading. Saudi Arabia's benchmark index declined 0.5% with Samba Financial Group shedding 2.3%, and shopping mall operator Arabian Centres dropping 1.8% after posting a steep fall in third-quarter profit. Rating agency Fitch said on Wednesday that growth had returned to Saudi banks but remained fragile. Oil giant Saudi Aramco dipped 0.6% to 33.65 riyals ($8.97), hitting its lowest point since it began trading on Dec. 11. Egypt's blue-chip index gained 0.5%; Eastern Company gained 3.7%, while Telecom Egypt jumped 5.4% following its update on Vodafone Egypt. Telecom Egypt said it was closely following Vodafone Group's potential deal to sell its 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt , which has boosted that stock. Telecom Egypt holds the remaining 45%. The Abu Dhabi index eased 0.3%, hit by a 1.1% fall in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 0.3% fall in Etisalat. Maroc Telecom was fined 3.3 billion Moroccan dirhams ($342.8 million) for anti-competitive practices, the operator said on Monday. The company is 53% controlled by the UAE's Etisalat, with the Moroccan state owning 22%. But Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) surged 14.9%, rising for a third day in a row. Abu Dhabi Power Corporation (ADPower) is planning to take control of the energy firm in an asset swap deal that would create a combined utility with assets worth about 200 billion dirhams ($54.5 billion). In Dubai, the index edged up 0.2% with Dubai Islamic Bank adding 0.5% and Emirates NBD Bank was up 0.4%. The Qatari index added 0.3%. Commercial Bank advanced 2.7% and Qatar Fuel gained 1.9%. SAUDI ARABIA fell 0.5% to 8,094 points ABU DHABI lost 0.3% to 5,081 points DUBAI added 0.2% to 2,772 points QATAR rose 0.3% to 10,298 points EGYPT up 0.5% to 13,987 points BAHRAIN eased 0.5% to 1,655 points OMAN fell 0.5% to 4,125 points KUWAIT down 0.2% at 6,963 points ($1 = 9.6272 Moroccan dirham; $1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham; $1 = 3.7514 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Pravin Char)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf bourses mixed; Telecom Egypt continues rally

30 Jan 2020

* Telecom Egypt hits highest in 4 months * Saudi's NCB extends gains on FY profit * All Saudi Arabian banks rise but one * Aramco closes down at 34.2 riyals By Ateeq Shariff Jan 30 Saudi Arabian stocks rose on Thursday as most of its banking shares climbed, while Egypt outperformed the region led by gains in blue-chips. Other Middle Eastern bourses were mixed. Egypt's blue-chip index advanced, 1.1% with 24 of 30 stocks on the index rising. Telecom Egypt soared 10%, reaching its highest since September. The stock was up for a third session, helped by Vodafone Group's deal to sell its 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt . Telecom Egypt said on Sunday it had no intention of selling its 45% stake in Vodafone Egypt. Stock exchange data showed Egyptian investors were net buyers of stocks. Saudi Arabia's benchmark index closed up 0.8%, with Al Rajhi Bank and National Commercial Bank (NCB) rising 1.2% and 2.5%, respectively. On Wednesday, the latter reported a 18.8% rise in 2019 net profit to 11.4 billion riyals ($3.04 billion). But, state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco retreated 0.7% to 34.2 riyals. Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement said on Wednesday it had launched rockets and drone strikes at Saudi targets, including Aramco oil facilities, the group's first claim of such attacks since it offered to halt them four months ago. Oil prices were higher after the reports but fell on Thursday, amid concerns over the potential economic impact of the coronavirus that continues to spread worldwide. Dubai's main share index declined 0.5%, weighed down by a 1.2% fall in Dubai Islamic Bank and a 1.9% decrease in budget airliner Air Arabia. The Abu Dhabi index slipped 0.2%. First Abu Dhabi Bank eased 0.3% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank was down 1%. However, International Holding gained 1.5%, a day after the company reported a rise in full-year profit. The Qatari index traded flat with Qatar Fuel losing 1.3%, while Qatar Insurance Co ended 1.6% higher. SAUDI ARABIA rose 0.8% to 8,247 points ABU DHABI lost 0.2% to 5,156 points DUBAI fell 0.5% to 2,790 points QATAR was flat at 10,442 points EGYPT up 1.1% to 13,919 points BAHRAIN slipped 0.1% to 1,658 points OMAN traded flat at 4,079 points KUWAIT down 0.4% at 7,033 points ($1 = 3.7511 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Middle Eastern stocks rise; Egypt outperforms

29 Jan 2020

* Telecom Egypt soars on Vodafone's deal * Saudi's NCB gains on strong fourth-quarter profit * SABIC slides after posting fourth-quarter losses By Ateeq Shariff Jan 29 Most Middle Eastern stock markets rose on Wednesday, supported by gains in banking shares and recovering oil prices, while Egypt ended a four-day losing streak. Oil prices rose for a second day, recouping some losses after a five-day rout, on talk that OPEC would extend oil output cuts if a new coronavirus hurts demand and on data showing a decline in U.S. stockpiles. Egypt's blue-chip index advanced 1% as Telecom Egypt soared 10% following Vodafone Group's agreement to sell its stake in Egyptian unit, Vodafone Egypt . Telecom Egypt said on Sunday it had no intention of selling its 45% stake in Vodafone Egypt. Stock exchange data showed that Egyptian investors were net buyers of stocks. Saudi Arabia's benchmark index increased 0.2% with Al Rajhi Bank and National Commercial Bank (NCB) rising 1.4% and 1.6%, respectively. The latter reported a higher net profit of 11.4 billion riyals ($3.04 billion) in 2019, compared to 9.59 billion riyals year before. However, the gains were capped by losses at other blue-chip stocks. Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) dropped 1.9% as the chemicals company posted a fourth-quarter loss, compared with profit a year earlier. Elsewhere, Saudi Telecom closed down 1.1%. It rose earlier following its preliminary agreement to buy Vodafone's 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt for $2.39 billion. Dubai's main share index added 0.5%, supported by a 1.4% rise in Dubai Islamic Bank and a 1.1% increase in Emirates NBD Bank. The Qatari index edged up 0.2%. Qatar National Bank gained 1% and Qatar International Islamic Bank closed up 1.4%, a day after it reported a higher full-year profit. The Abu Dhabi index ended 0.3% lower with First Abu Dhabi Bank shedding 0.5% and Etisalat down 0.4%. SAUDI ARABIA rose 0.2% to 8,186 points ABU DHABI lost 0.3% to 5,165 points DUBAI up 0.5% to 2,806 points QATAR added 0.2% to 10,441 points EGYPT up 1% to 13,756 points BAHRAIN gained 0.8% to 1,659 points OMAN slipped 0.2% to 4,079 points KUWAIT was up 0.5% at 7,059 points ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) ($1 = 3.7511 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi leads Gulf lower as China virus fears mount

27 Jan 2020

* All Saudi Arabian banks decline * Emirates NBD drops on poor Q4 earnings * ADCB posts lower Q4 financials * 28 of thirty Egyptian stocks drop By Ateeq Shariff Jan 27 Middle East stocks slipped, with Saudi Arabia hardest hit on Monday, mirroring drops in oil prices and global shares on concerns about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in China. Saudi Arabia's energy minister said it is closely monitoring developments in global oil markets resulting from "gloomy expectations" regarding the possible impact on the Chinese and global economy, as well as on the oil market. The death toll in China has risen to 81 and the virus spread to more than 10 countries, including France, Japan and the United States. The total number of confirmed cases in China rose about 30% from the previous day, to 2,744. But some experts suspect the number of infected people is much higher. Saudi Arabia's benchmark index tumbled 1.8%, extending losses for a fifth-day. National Commercial Bank slid 3.1%, while Al Rajhi Bank fell 1.2%. Brent crude fell by $1.95 a barrel, or 3.2%, to $58.75 by 1128 GMT, its lowest since late October and the biggest intra-day fall since Jan. 8. In Dubai, the index tumbled 1.2%, with Dubai Islamic Bank shedding 1.7%, while Emirates NBD Bank was down 1.1% following a 15% plunge in fourth-quarter net profit on higher impairment charges. The Abu Dhabi index retreated 1.2%, led by a 1.4% drop in First Abu Dhabi Bank, ahead of its board meeting to approve financials. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank fell 2.8% after it reported fourth-quarter net profit of 1.05 billion dirhams ($286 million), down from 1.24 billion a year earlier. Qatar's index declined 0.9% as Qatar National Bank and Commercial Bank dropped 1% and 2%, respectively. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index dipped 0.6%, with 28 of thirty stocks ending in the red, including Commercial International Bank, which lost 0.6%. SAUDI ARABIA slid 1.8% to 8,178 points ABU DHABI dropped 1.2% to 5,167 points DUBAI fell 1.2% to 2,789 points QATAR declined 0.9% to 10,489 points EGYPT eased 0.6% to 13,640 points BAHRAIN slipped 0.1% to 1,647 points OMAN lost 0.3% to 4,071 points KUWAIT was down 1% at 7,000 points ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks hold back most of Gulf; lender FAB boosts Abu Dhabi

22 Jan 2020

* FAB in talks to buy Bank Audi's Egyptian unit * Aramco closes down at 34.5 riyals * Masraf Al Rayan extends gains on FY profit By Ateeq Shariff Jan 22 Most major Gulf stock markets weakened on Wednesday, largely pulled down by losses in banks, but Abu Dhabi bucked the trend on the back of top lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB). Saudi Arabia's benchmark index retreated 0.2%, offsetting earlier gains in the day. Samba Financial Group declined 1.6%, while Saudi British Bank was down 1.7%. State-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco slipped 0.3% to 34.5 riyals. EFG Hermes on Wednesday initiated Aramco's coverage with a "neutral" rating, in line with most other brokerages, and set a target price of 34 riyals ($9.06) per share. The Abu Dhabi index gained 1% with First Abu Dhabi Bank rising 1.4% and International Holding soaring 14.9%. United Arab Emirates' largest lender, FAB, is in talks potentially to acquire the Egyptian subsidiary of Lebanon's Bank Audi, Reuters reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter. Bank Audi Egypt has grown from a three-branch operation acquired by Bank Audi in 2005 to 50 branches with total assets of $4.4 billion at the end of September, Bank Audi's Chief Financial Officer, Tamer Ghazaleh, said last week, when he told Reuters the bank was considering selling the unit. In Dubai, the index fell 0.2%, driven down by an 8.6% plunge in Mashreq Bank and a 1% decrease in Emaar Properties. Qatar's index eased 0.1% as market heavyweight Industries Qatar dropped 0.5% and Qatar Fuel was down 0.7%. However, it saw some support from Qatar National Bank and Masraf Al Rayan, which were up 0.3% and 0.5%, respectively. The latter reported a higher annual profit on Tuesday. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index added 0.8%, buoyed by a 0.9% increase in the country's biggest lender, Commercial International Bank, and a 1.7% rise in El Sewedy Electric. SAUDI ARABIA fell 0.2% to 8,42 points ABU DHABI gained 1% to 5,234 points DUBAI eased 0.2% to 2,849 points QATAR slipped 0.1% to 10,681 points EGYPT rose 0.8% to 13,752 points BAHRAIN added 0.5% to 1,651 points OMAN was down 0.1% to 4,056 points KUWAIT lost 0.2% to 7,093 points ($1 = 3.7511 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; editing by Nick Macfie)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt extends losses in subdued Gulf

21 Jan 2020

* All but five of Egypt's 30 stocks retreat * Saudi Aramco dips 0.1% to 34.6 riyals * Masraf Al Rayan gains on profit rise * First Abu Dhabi Bank the biggest drag on index By Ateeq Shariff Jan 21 Middle Eastern stock markets were largely subdued on Tuesday, mirroring global stocks, as mounting concerns about a new strain of coronavirus in China dampened risk appetite. The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in China climbed to six On Tuesday as authorities reported a surge in new cases. The National Health Commission (NHC) put the number of confirmed cases at 291 by the end of Monday, but further information from individual provinces on Tuesday showed a widening geographic spread. Egypt's blue-chip index fell for a second day, retreating 1%, with 25 of 30 stocks easing on the index. The country's largest lender, Commercial International Bank , eased by 0.2% and tobacco monopoly Eastern Company lost 1.3%. Exchange data showed Egyptian investors were net sellers of the stocks. The Saudi benchmark index dropped 0.3%, with Al Rajhi Bank down 0.5% and Saudi Basic Industries retreating by 1%. The International Monetary Fund trimmed its forecast for Saudi Arabia's economic growth to 1.9% this year because of oil output cuts agreed with oil exporters, having previously forecast gross domestic product growth of 2.2%. Riyadh led an agreement last month that committed the OPEC+ group of oil producers to some of the deepest output cuts in a decade to avert oversupply and support prices. Elsewhere, state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco slipped 0.1% to 34.6 riyals ($9.22). The Abu Dhabi index lost 0.6%, driven down by a 1.4% fall in the country's largest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank , and a 0.2% decrease in telecoms company Etisalat . Qatar's index traded flat as Masraf Al Rayan gained 1.5% after posting a higher annual profit while Qatar Insurance declined by 1.2%. The Dubai index edged up 0.1%, with its largest lender, Emirates NBD, adding 0.4% and logistic company Aramex gaining 1.4%. SAUDI ARABIA fell 0.3% to 8,445 points ABU DHABI dropped 0.6% to 5,185 points DUBAI edged up 0.1% to 2,855 points QATAR traded flat at 10,694 points EGYPT down 1% to 13,636 points BAHRAIN was up 0.1% to 1,644 points OMAN slipped 0.4% to 4,060 points KUWAIT was down 0.2% at 7,107 points ($1 = 3.7515 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by David Goodman)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oman leads Gulf higher; Saudi bucks regional strength

15 Jan 2020

* Bank Muscat, Raysut Cement up on FY earnings * Saudi snaps four-day winning streak * Aramco closes down, at 34.7 riyals * Tabreed gains on establishing new entity * Qatar Islamic Bank posts higher FY profit By Ateeq Shariff Jan 15 Most Gulf bourses ended higher on Wednesday, with Oman leading the gains, as robust company earnings and an ease in geopolitical tensions lifted sentiment, although weakness in financial shares weighed on the Saudi index. Regional stocks had declined after the killing of an Iranian commander by a U.S. drone strike and the launch of Iranian missiles in retaliation, however, a de-escalation in tensions has revived buying interest in Gulf equities. Oman's blue-chip index, which traded after a three-day break following the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said, advanced 1.6%, marking its biggest one-day gain this month. Bank Muscat closed 2.8% higher, while Raysut Cement rose 7.6%. Both of them reported a sharp rise in their annual net profit. Saudi Arabia's benchmark index retreated 0.5%, ending a four-day winning streak. Al Rajhi Bank ticked down 0.6%, while National Commercial Bank eased 0.8%. State-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco slipped 0.4% to 34.7 riyals. Earlier in the day, JP Morgan started coverage of the energy giant with an "overweight" rating and a price target of 37 riyals ($9.86), a stronger recommendation than Goldman Sachs' "neutral", Morgan Stanley's "underweight" and HSBC's "hold" ratings. Dubai's main share index rose 0.5%, driven by a 0.9% gain in Dubai Islamic Bank and a 0.8% increase in Emirates NBD. Amongst others, National Central Cooling Co (Tabreed) added 2.1% following establishment of a new entity to consolidate its service businesses. In Abu Dhabi, the index reversed course to edge up 0.1%, as International Holding Company soared 9.6% and Emirates Telecommunications advanced 0.5%. The Qatari index ended flat with banking stocks moving sideways. Qatar Islamic Bank gained 1.8%. After-market close, the sharia-compliant lender reported an increase in full-year net profit. Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's biggest lender by assets, was down 0.2%, even as it reported a rise in annual profit. The bank posted a net profit of 14.4 billion riyals ($3.96 billion) in 2019, up from 13.8 billion riyals a year earlier. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index inched up 0.1% as market heavyweight Commercial International Bank added 0.6%. SAUDI ARABIA fell 0.5% to 8,433 points ABU DHABI edged up 0.1% to 5,174 points DUBAI added 0.5% to 2,818 points QATAR traded flat at 10,635 points EGYPT up 0.1% to 13,770 points BAHRAIN increased 1% to 1,636 points OMAN advanced 1.6% to 4,039 points KUWAIT was up 0.4% at 7,090 points ($1 = 3.6400 Qatar riyals) ($1 = 3.7514 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi outshines as Gulf rebounds on receding Mideast tensions

09 Jan 2020

* Saudi sees biggest gain in over a year * Aramco leaps to close at 35 riyals * All stocks on Kuwait's index rise By Ateeq Shariff Jan 9 Middle Eastern stock markets rebounded on Thursday, with Saudi outperforming the region, as investors repositioned themselves on signs of no further escalation between Tehran and Washington. U.S. President Donald Trump responded to an Iranian attack on U.S. forces with sanctions, not violence. On Wednesday, Iran fired missiles at military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that killed an Iranian general. Saudi Arabia's benchmark index advanced 2.7%, its biggest intraday gain since Oct. 2018. Al Rajhi Bank leapt 2.3%, while state-owned Saudi Aramco climbed 2.3% to 35 riyals, snapping four straight days of losses. 897.2 million riyals ($239.19 million) worth of Aramco shares were traded by the close, with around 25.8 million shares exchanging hands, Refinitiv data showed. Dubai's main share index rebounded 1.3%, a day after it fell 1.2%, led by gains at financial shares. Dubai Islamic Bank, the United Arab Emirates largest sharia-compliant lender, rose 1.3% and Emirates NBD Bank was up 1.2%. In Abu Dhabi, the index added 1.1% driven by a 1.3% rise in First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 1.7% increase in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. The Qatari Index closed 1% up with lender Masraf Al Rayan and Qatar National Bank rising 2.3% and 0.8%, respectively. Elsewhere, Kuwait's index was also up, ending 1.9% higher, as all the stocks on the index gained. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index increased 1.7%, extending the previous day's gains. Commercial International Bank, the country's largest lender, was up 1.2% and Egypt Kuwait Holding jumped 4.2%. Stock exchange data on Thursday showed that Egyptian investors were net-buyers of the stocks. SAUDI ARABIA advanced 2.7% to 8,346 points ABU DHABI gained 1.1% to 5,076 points DUBAI added 1.3% to 2,749 points QATAR rose 1% to 10,444 points EGYPT up 1.7% to 13,730 points BAHRAIN increased 0.8% to 1,597 points OMAN was also up 0.8% to 3,977 points KUWAIT closed up 1.9% at 6,929 points ($1 = 3.75 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Major Gulf indexes slide as Iran retaliates; Aramco's retreat extends

08 Jan 2020

* All Saudi Arabian banks slide but one * Aramco closes at 34.2 riyals * All stocks on Egypt's index rise By Ateeq Shariff Jan 8 Major stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Wednesday after Iran launched missiles at bases housing U.S. forces in Iraq, while Saudi Aramco extended losses. Iran retaliated against the U.S. drone strike that killed an Iranian commander late last week, an attack that stoked fears of all-out conflict in the Middle East and set off a bout of risk aversion. However, Iranian officials said Tehran did not want a war and its strikes "concluded" its response to the U.S. air strike, helping settle down surges in oil and gold prices. Saudi Arabia's benchmark index dipped 0.9% with all its banking stocks ending in red except one. Al Rajhi Bank was down 0.9%, while Samba Financial Group decreased 2.2%. State-owned Saudi Aramco fell 0.4% to 34.2 riyals ($9.12), extending losses for a fourth day in a row. The stock opened at 34 riyals, hitting its lowest since it began trading on Dec. 11. The oil giant's shares are down almost 12% from a high of 38.70 riyals on Dec. 12, but still above the IPO price of 32 riyals, which valued the company at $1.7 trillion. Dubai's main share index declined 1.2% with its largest lender Emirates NBD shedding 2.3% and Emaar Properties losing 1.2%. In Abu Dhabi, the index retreated 0.7% driven down by a 1.1% fall in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank , and a 0.6% ease in telecoms firm Etisalat . The Qatari index fell 0.4% as Qatar International Islamic Bank and Qatar Fuel shed 2.8% and 1.1%, respectively. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index advanced 2.5% in its first session of gains this year, as all its 30 stocks rose. The index is still down 3% so far this year. Commercial International Bank leapt 3.2% and Egypt Kuwait Holding ended 5.7% higher. SAUDI ARABIA down 0.9% to 8,124 points ABU DHABI lost 0.7% to 5,019 points DUBAI dropped 1.2% to 2,713 points QATAR eased 0.4% to 10,337 points EGYPT up 2.5% to 13,542 points BAHRAIN fell 0.4% to 1,585 points OMAN slipped 0.1% to 3,944 points KUWAIT edged down 0.1% to 6,799 points ($1 = 3.7510 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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