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Mideast Stocks: Most Gulf shares ease, but weekly gains intact

Mideast Stocks: Most Gulf shares ease, but weekly gains intact

(Reuters) – Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates share indexes weakened on Thursday on lower oil prices but still held on to weekly gains, while Qatari and Egyptian stocks finished the week on a high.

FILE PHOTO: An investor monitors a screen displaying stock information at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange June 25, 2014 /File Photo

Oil prices dipped as bullish signals from Chinese import data and U.S. crude oil stocks draws were outweighed by surging coronavirus cases in Europe and new lockdowns in China. [O/R]

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index edged down 0.2%, with Al Rajhi Bank and oil behemoth Saudi Aramco easing 0.4% each. The index gained 1.9% on the week.

Saudi Arabian inflation rose to 3.4% in 2020, lifted by the tripling of value-added tax last year as the kingdom sought to boost state revenues hit by the coronavirus crisis and lower oil prices.

Property stocks weighed on Dubai’s main index with the benchmark dropping for the first time this week, by 0.7%.

Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties was the worst performer, slipping 1.5%, while Damac Properties and Emaar Malls lost 3.4% and 1%, respectively.

The index, however, posted its second successive weekly gain with a rise of almost 3.0%.

In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark lost 0.5%, also its first blip during the week and only the second time it has slipped out of the 10 trading days in the new year. It was up nearly 2% on the week.

The country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank fell 0.4% on Thursday, while telecoms major Etisalat was down 0.6%.

In Qatar, the main index firmed 0.4%, supported by a 4.3% gain in Qatar Industries and 0.9% increase in Qatar Islamic Bank. It was also up around 2% on the week.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s index added 0.6%, mainly driven by a 5.7% rise in tobacco firm Eastern Co, for a weekly gain of 4.6%.

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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