Middle East Stocks Mixed But Qatar and Saudi Arabia Firm on MSCI Index Hopes
MidEast shares were mixed, with Qatar rising amid speculation index-compiler MSCI will increase weightings for some of the country's top blue-chip companies in its emerging market index review and Saudi stocks firming on the back of the banking sector on hopes MSCI will upgrade Riyadh next month to emerging market status.
In March, global index compiler FTSE Russell upgraded Saudi Arabia to emerging market status. Results of MSCI's semi-annual index review will be announced late Monday and the changes will take effect at the end of this month.
Among the stocks gaining were Qatar National Bank and Industries Qatar, which both have raised their foreign ownership limits to 49% from 25%, in an attempt to boost the weight of their stocks in emerging market indexes.
In company news, Dana Gas said it had struck a deal with creditors on restructuring $700 million of sukuk. This will possibly bring to an end a nearly year-long legal row that spooked investors in Islamic finance.
Saudi Arabia's main index edged up 0.6% to 8,071 points, Dubai gained 0.5% to 2,905 points, Abu Dhabi added 0.5% to 4,447 points, Qatar jumped 1.3% to 8,934 points, Kuwait slipped 0.5% to 4,765 points, Bahrain was flat at 1,272 points, Oman was unchanged at 4,690 points and Egypt declined 1.2% to 16,984 points.
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