MIDEAST STOCKS-Global rally lifts most of Gulf, blue-chips drag Qatar
By Ateeq Shariff
May 21 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market rose sharply on Tuesday, leading gains in most major Gulf bourses amid a global rally after Washington temporarily eased trade restrictions imposed last week on China's Huawei. Qatar dropped on wide sell-off.
Saudi's index .TASI increased 1.7%, with Al Rajhi Bank 1120.SE adding 2.2% and Saudi Basic Industries 2010.SE up 3.3%.
"Middle East today is following the positive lead from Global markets. Local sentiment is also better as evidenced by the strong moves in small cap stocks," said Vrajesh Bhandari senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital.
"We expect Saudi Arabia to continue its upward trend until at least the MSCI effective date May 28," added Vrajesh. "Thereafter, investors need to be selective & follow a bottom up approach. Overall, we find better value in UAE & Egypt."
MSCI last week said it would include MSCI Saudi Arabia in its emerging-markets index, effective May 28, a move that could draw billions of dollars into the market.
Saudi International Petrochemical 2310.SE closed 3.4% higher. The firm completed the merger of equals with Sahara Petrochemical, which delisted on May 20.
Qatar's index .QSI was down 2%, with 17 of its 20 stocks sliding.
Middle East's largest lender, Qatar National Bank QNBK.QA, dropped 2.4%, while Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding MPHC.QA plunged 10%, snapping a six-day winning streak triggered by the stock inclusion in MSCI's index.
Egypt's blue-chip index .EGX30, gained 1.7% as most of its stocks rose, with Market heavyweight Commercial International Bank COMI.CA gaining 0.9%.
El Sewedy Electric SWDY.CA jumped 5.9% after it partnered with General Authority For Suez Canal Economic Zone to establish a new company with issued capital of 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($58.82 million), in which the firm will own 49%.
Abu Dhabi's index .ADI closed 1.1% higher, led by a 1.3% increase in the country's largest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank FAB.AD.
Dana Gas DANA.AD jumped 4.1% after the energy firm said it had started drilling operations at Merak-1 well, offshore Egypt.
National Marine Dredging NMDC.AD soared 13.9% after last week reporting a higher first-quarter earnings.
The Dubai index .DFMGI rose 1% as all but one of its real estate stocks rose.
Emaar Properties EMAR.DU, Dubai's largest listed-developer, increased 2.9% while its units Emaar Malls EMAA.DU and Emaar Development EMAARDEV.DU were up 2.3 and 3% respectively.
The United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday that it will grant 6,800 foreign investors permanent residency under a new "Golden Card" system after they invested a combined 100 billion dirhams ($27.23 billion) in the Gulf state.
National Cement Company NCC.DU was up 1.7% after news it had bought ARM Cement's ARM.NR Kenyan assets for $50 million.
Arabtec Holding ARTC.DU rebounded 2.1%, snapping four straight sessions of losses on weak first-quarter earnings.
The index .TASI rose 1.7% at 8,609 points
The index .ADI was up 1.1% at 4,782 points
The index .DFMGI added 1% to 2,539 points
The index .QSI lost 2% to 9,701 points
The index .EGX30 was up 1.7% at 13,614 points
The index .BAX gained 0.9% to 1,409 points
The index .MSI slid 0.1% to 3,842 points
The index .BKP increased 0.9% to 6,058 points
($1 = 3.7500 riyals)
($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirham)
($1 = 17.0000 Egyptian pounds)
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Frances Kerry)