U.S. Markets closed

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai continues winning streak, banks pressure Saudi

Feb 19 (Reuters) - The Dubai stock market extended a run of gains as it rose for a fifth session on Tuesday, mainly driven up by property stocks after strong fourth-quarter earnings.

Banks dragged Saudi lower as investors booked profit after the market gained significantly this year.

In Dubai, the index rose 0.7 percent with the most heavily-traded stock Emaar Properties gaining 3.3 percent, while its unit Emaar Malls rose 1.3 percent. The stocks have been rising in recent sessions after posting robust fourth-quarter earnings, boosting the index.

Property firms, which were partly behind the index's poor performance last year, showed signs of recovery reflected in the fourth-quarter results and increased construction contracts, though they remained vulnerable to further falls in property prices.

Rating agency Standard & Poor's said on Tuesday it expects Dubai residential property prices to fall further in 2019 due to a continued gap between supply and demand, before a gradual stabilisation in 2020.

DAMAC Properties, which rose 1.6 percent, also benefited from an Emaar-fuelled real estate rally and has risen in recent sessions despite posting a much lower profit for the fourth quarter.

Saudi Arabia's index fell 0.3 percent with Al Rajhi Bank shedding 0.6 percent and Saudi British Bank decreasing 1.5 percent.

The index is still up nine percent this year, far outperforming other major Gulf bourses.

Telecommunications firm Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) rose 2.6 percent after it posted a fourth-quarter profit which, it said, was its first profit since the second quarter of 2016.

Qatar's index traded flat with bank Masraf Al Rayan sliding 1.3 percent.

The Abu Dhabi index was also flat with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank slipping 0.5 percent. (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)