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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Middle Eastern stocks gain; Qatar bucks trend

By Maqsood Alam
·2 min read

* Aramco snaps five-session losing streak * Union Properties soars on project financing * DP World jumps on going private * Qatar Petroleum units weigh on index By Maqsood Alam Feb 17 (Reuters) - Most Middle Eastern markets closed higher on Monday, with Saudi Arabia gaining on support from Saudi Aramco, while Qatar bucked the trend on news it had delayed choosing partners for the world's largest liquefied natural gas project. Saudi Arabia's benchmark index was up 0.5% supported by state-owned Saudi Aramco, which was up 0.9% at 33.1 riyals ($8.83), snapping a five-day losing streak. Saudi British Bank rose 2.1%, while Al Rjahi Bank edged up 0.3%. Qatar's index was down 0.4% for its seventh straight session of declines. State-run Qatar Petroleum's units Mesaieed Petrochemicals and Industries Qatar weighed most on the index, falling 4.6% and 1.4%, respectively. Reuters reported, citing sources, that Qatar has delayed choosing Western partners for the world's largest liquefied natural gas project by several months. Last year, Qatar Petroleum's chief executive officer told Reuters that Qatar had shortlisted international oil firms for a stake in its expanded North Field megaproject. However, the fall was cushioned by Qatar Electricity and Water, which ended 1.3% higher. The firm reported an annual profit of 1.41 billion riyals ($387.36 million), down from 1.54 billion riyals a year earlier. Dubai's index added 0.5%. Emaar Properties and its unit Emaar Malls were up 0.8% and 2.4%, respectively. Union Properties soared 14.7%, its biggest intra-day surge since December 2014. The company said on Sunday that a financing process of about 200 million dirhams ($54.45 million) for expansion of the Autodrome project was nearing its completion. Nasdaq Dubai-listed DP World leapt 10% after announcing that it would delist and return to full state ownership in a deal valuing the company at $13.9 billion. In Egypt, the blue-chip index was up 0.5% with its biggest lender Commercial International Bank Egypt rising 0.6%. The Abu Dhabi index gained 0.4% as the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank edged up 0.3% and the telecom service provider Etisalat added 0.4%. SAUDI ARABIA rose 0.5% to 7,873 points ABU DHABI gained 0.4% to 5,082 points DUBAI rose 0.5% to 2,749 points QATAR lost 0.4% to 9,709 points EGYPT was up 0.5% to 13,800 points BAHRAIN edged up 0.1% to 1,663 points OMAN gained 0.1% to 4,165 points KUWAIT rose 0.4% to 6,874 points ($1 = 3.6729 UAE dirham) ($1 = 3.7505 riyals) ($1 = 3.6400 Qatar riyals) (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)