MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets advance on hopes of reduced Gulf tensions
By Maqsood Alam
Dec 1 (Reuters) - All major Gulf stock markets closed higher on Sunday on hopes that a reported visit by Qatar's foreign minister to Riyadh would ease a rift between Gulf states.
Qatar's foreign minister made an unannounced visit to Saudi Arabia, sources told Reuters on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt had cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar in June 2017, accusing Doha of backing terrorism. Qatar denies the charge.
OPEC and allied oil producers, meanwhile, will consider further oil supply cuts when their leaders meet in Vienaa this week, Iraq's oil minister said on Sunday, in a move expected to support oil prices.
In Saudi Arabia, the benchmark index .TASI was up 0.6%, with Al Rajhi Bank 1120.SE advancing 1.6% and Saudi Basic Industries 2010.SE up 0.9%.
Ataa Educational 4292.SE added 2.2% after a non-binding memorandum of understanding to acquire 92.1% stake in Kingdom Schools.
The Qatar index .QSI firmed by 0.4% to end a three-day losing streak. Qatar National Bank QNBK.QA, the Gulf's largest lender, gained 1% and Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding MPHC.QA added 1.5%.
The Kuwaiti index .BKP closed 1.8% up, outperforming its Gulf peers, as Kuwait Financial House (KFH) KFH.KW and Boubyan Bank BOUK.KW added 4% and 2.1% respectively.
The Bahrain central bank approved KFH's acquisition of Ahli United Bank AUBB.BH, while Boubyan confirmed it is in advanced talks to buy all remaining shares in BLME Holding BLME.DI.
Egypt's blue-chip index .EGX30 fell 0.5%, with Qalaa Holdings CCAP.CA shedding 4.3% after brokerage Pharos Research on Thursday cut its valuation of the investment company to 2.70 Egyption pounds per share from 3.29 pounds.
Orascom Investment Holding OIH.CA slipped 2.4% as its third-quarter net profit declined to 62.6 million Egyptian pounds ($3.90 million) from 1.22 billion pounds a year earlier.
The Dubai and Abu Dhabi stock markets are closed for three-day public holidays and will resume trading on Dec. 4.
.TASI was up 0.6% to 7,902 points
.QSI gained 0.4% to 10,192 points
.EGX30 fell 0.5% to 13,781 points
.BAX rose 0.4% to 1,533 points
.MSI was up 0.3% to 4,074 points
.BKP rose 1.8% to 6,633 points
($1 = 16.0600 Egyptian pounds)
(Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru Editing by David Goodman)
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