Abu Dhabi hits multi-year on FAB foreign ownership change

DUBAI, April 14 () - Abu Dhabi stocks closed up 2.4 percent on Sunday, reaching a four-and-a-half year high as First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) surged after it obtained regulatory approval to increase its foreign ownership limit.

Other Gulf markets were weak.

Foreigners will be allowed to own as much as 40 percent of FAB stock, up from a previous limit of 25 percent, lifting FAB shares by almost 5 percent.

Dubai shares were flat on weakness in Emaar Properties , which was down 1.2 percent.

Shares of Emirates NBD rose 1.7 percent however after the bank said it had sold more shares in the London initial public offering of Network International after exercising a greenshoe option.

Saudi stocks made a lacklustre start to the week as financial shares fell on profit-taking after robust gains in the Gulf region's biggest stock market this year.

The index ended 0.4 percent lower, with Al Rajhi Bank down 0.6 percent and Samba Financial Group down 1.3 percent.

It is still up almost 16 percent so far this year, fuelled by an increase in foreign fund flows as it entered the FTSE Russell's emerging market index on March 18.

Qatari stocks were down 0.2 percent, pressured by a 0.9 percent drop in market heavyweight Industries Qatar and a 1.3 percent fall in Qatar Insurance Co. .

Across the rest of the Gulf, Bahrain stocks were up 0.5 percent, while Kuwait's market was flat. Egypt's market was down 0.2 percent.

($1 = 3.6729 UAE dirham)

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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