MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi up on petrochemical shares; Egypt extends losses
By Ateeq Shariff
Sept 20 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian shares ended higher on Sunday as Saudi Industrial Investment Group 2250.SE and National Petrochemical Company 2002.SE surged on news the two were in merger talks, while Egypt's blue-chip index extended losses for a second session.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index .TASI rose 0.3%, with SIIG 2250.SE advancing 5.5% and National Petrochemical Company 2002.SE jumping 6.8%.
A deal between the two would mark further consolidation in the Saudi petrochemicals sector after oil giant Saudi Aramco 2222.SE bought a 70% stake in Saudi Basic Industries 2010.SE in June. Saudi Aramco 2222.SE was up 0.8%.
Dubai's main share index .DFMGI reversed earlier losses to close flat. Emirates NBD Bank ENBD.DU dropped 0.9%, while sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank DISB.DU was down 0.7%.
Logistics firm Aramex ARMX.DU however climbed 3.4%, extending gains from the previous session. On Thursday, Abu Dhabi-backed holding company ADQ said it had acquired about a 22% stake in Aramex, making it the firm's biggest shareholder.
The Abu Dhabi index .ADI gained 0.8%, buoyed by a 2.2% rise in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank FAB.AD and a 1.7% increase in Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank ADIB.AD.
Last week, ADIB signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel's Bank Leumi LUMI.TA to explore areas for future cooperation in the United Arab Emirates, Israel and other international markets.
In Qatar, the index .QSI slipped 0.3%, hurt by a 1.7% decline in petrochemical maker Industries Qatar IQCD.QA.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index .EGX30 dropped 0.7%, with most of the stocks on the index in negative territory including Commercial International Bank COMI.CA, which fell 0.5%.
.TASI rose 0.3% to 8,365 points
.ADI gained 0.8% to 4,546 points
.DFMGI was flat at 2,320 points
.QSI eased 0.3% to 9,916 points
.EGX30 down 0.5% to 10,969 points
.BAX added 0.5% to 1,442 points
.MSI lost 0.8% to 3,619 points
.BKP was up 1.1% at 6,075 points
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey)
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