MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf markets recover on financials, Qatar leads

    * 18 of 20 Qatari stocks rise
    * Saudi's Gulf Union, Al-Ahlia rise on acquisition progress
    * 9 of 12 Saudi banks gain 
    * Tabuk rises on MoU for cement export to Yemen

    By Shakeel Ahmad and Ateeq Shariff
    Jan 3 (Reuters) - Major Gulf markets staged a recovery on
Thursday after opening on a weak note on global market woes,
with renewed interest in financial stocks helping overcome
volatility in global markets.
    The Qatari index rose 0.7 percent, with 18 of its 20
stocks advancing. The Middle East's second largest petrochemical
firm Industries Qatar added 1.8 percent while Qatar
Islamic Bank increased 0.9 percent. 
    But Mesaieed Petrochemical plunged by 7.3 percent,
having jumped by its 10 percent daily limit in the previous
session on news that major shareholder Qatar Petroleum had
finished distributing a tranche of free incentive shares to
investors, potentially improving liquidity in the stock.
    Saudi Arabia's index was up 0.5 percent, with Al
Rajhi Bank gaining 0.8 percent and Saudi Basic
Industries up 1 percent. 
    Tabuk Cement rose 2.2 percent after saying it had
signed a memorandum of understanding to export 600,000 tonnes of
clinkers and 150,000 tonnes of cement to war-torn Yemen.
    Gulf Union Cooperative Insurance added 2.5 percent
after publishing an offer document for a proposed acquisition of
Al-Ahlia Insurance Co in a share-swap deal. Al-Ahlia
jumped 7.7 percent in active trade.
    The Egyptian blue-chip index rose 0.5 percent,
gaining for a third straight session, aided by its bank shares.
    Commercial International Bank advanced 1.1 percent
and tobacco maker Eastern Co climbed 2.1 percent.
    The Abu Dhabi index was up 0.7 percent, with First
Abu Dhabi Bank gaining 0.7 percent and Dana Gas
 adding 3.3 percent. Dana Gas said earlier this week
that it had received $324 million of receivables in 2018,
including $199 million from Egypt.
    The Dubai index, one of the world's
worst-performing stock markets last year, inched up 0.2 percent
in late buying. Dubai Investments added 3.2 percent
and DAMAC Properties gained 2 percent. 
($1 = 17.9100 Egyptian pounds)    
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         was up 0.5 pct at 7,830 points
 DUBAI         The index          added 0.2 pct to 2,526 points
 QATAR         The index        gained 0.7 pct to 10,350 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        rose 0.7 pct to 4,898 points
 EGYPT         The index          rose 0.5 pct to 13,265 points
 KUWAIT        The index        was up 0.7 pct at 5,341 points
 OMAN          The index        fell 0.6 pct to 4,276 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        edged down 0.3 pct to 1,326

 (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad and Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru
Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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