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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf stocks resume retreat; Egypt extends gains

By Ateeq Shariff

* UAE reports first deaths from coronavirus * 25 of 30 Egyptian stocks gain * Commercial Bank gains ahead of going ex-dividend By Ateeq Shariff March 22 (Reuters) - Most stock indexes in the Gulf closed lower on Sunday, with Abu Dhabi leading the losses, as measures by central banks to stem a coronavirus-induced financial rout faded, though Egypt extended gains. More than 305,000 people have been infected by coronavirus across the world and more than 13,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally. In Abu Dhabi, the index declined 3.6%, dragged down by a 4.4% slide in top lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 4.9% fall in telecoms firm Etisalat. Dubai's main share index ended 2.1% lower, with Emirates NBD and developer Emaar Properties tumbling 4.2% and 4.5% respectively. On Friday, the United Arab Emirates health ministry announced its first two deaths from the virus, official UAE news agency WAM reported, adding that both fatalities were people who had existing medical conditions. Egypt's blue-chip index jumped 5.9%, with 25 of the thirty stocks in the index rising, including heavyweight Commercial International Bank, which advanced 4.6%. The country's central bank last week cut its main interest rates by 300 basis points at an unscheduled meeting, describing it as a pre-emptive move to support the economy. Saudi Arabia's benchmark index decreased 1.5%. Oil giant Saudi Aramco eased 1.5%, while National Commercial Bank tumbled 3.1%. Saudi Arabia, which has announced a $31.93 billion economic support package, suspended all domestic flights, buses, taxis and trains for 14 days from Saturday. The Qatari index edged up 0.2%. Commercial Bank gained 3.6%, ahead of going ex-dividend on Tuesday, while Qatar Islamic Bank rose 1.2%. Gains were capped by losses at Qatar National Bank , the Gulf's largest lender, which traded 1.4% down. Last week, Qatar said it would ban non-Qataris from entering the country for two weeks as of Wednesday and announced measures to support the economy, including providing 75 billion riyals ($20.6 billion) in financial incentives to the private sector. ** Kuwait and Oman were closed for a public holiday. SAUDI ARABIA lost 1.5% to 6,172 points ABU DHABI slid 3.6% to 3,553 points DUBAI fell 2.1% to 1,782 points QATAR edged up 0.2% to 8,589 points EGYPT up 5.9% to 9,751 points BAHRAIN lost 1% to 1,395 points ($1 = 3.6415 Qatar riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by David Holmes)