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MIDEAST STOCKS Dubai gains as UAE eases travel curbs; other markets mixed

An investor monitors a screen displaying stock information at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange June 25, 2014.

Aug 4 (Reuters) – Major bourses in the Gulf ended mixed on Wednesday, knocked by tensions in the region after the seizure of an oil product tanker, although an easing of UAE travel curbs boosted the Dubai index.

On Tuesday, three maritime security sources claimed Iranian-backed forces seized an oil product tanker off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Iran denied the reports. read more

“The latest news about an oil tanker being seized by Iran-backed forces increases tension levels and the likelihood that oil prices could climb and stock markets could slip,” said Daniel Takieddine, senior market analyst at FXPrimus.

Brent crude oil futures , however, were down 1.8%, or $1.30, to $71.11 a barrel by 0122 GMT, as the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant in top consuming countries outweighed the impact of Mideast geopolitical tensions and a fall in U.S. inventories.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index (.TASI) dropped 0.4%, with Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) losing 0.5%, while Savola Group (2050.SE) declined 4.5%.

The food retailer reported a second-quarter net profit of 200 million riyals ($53.33 million) down from 409.6 million riyals year ago.

The kingdom’s foreign minister said on Tuesday he saw an emboldened Iran acting in a negative manner around the Middle East, endangering shipping, arming Yemen’s Houthis and contributing to political deadlock in Lebanon. read more

In Abu Dhabi, the index (.ADI) lost 0.4%, pressured by a 1.2% fall in the country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD).

The main share index (.DFMGI) in Dubai, the Middle East’s travel and tourism hub, advanced 0.6%, with Dubai Islamic Bank (DISB.DU) advancing 2.8%.

Dubai’s state airport operator expects a surge in passenger traffic over the coming weeks and months, its chief executive said on Wednesday, after the United Arab Emirates announced an easing of travel restrictions from African and Asian countries. read more

The Gulf state, a major international travel hub, on Tuesday said it would lift a ban on transit flights, including from major market India. read more

Elsewhere, budget airliner Air Arabia (AIRA.DU) was up 0.7%.

The Qatari benchmark (.QSI) added 0.1%, helped by a 0.6% increase in Qatar National Bank (QNBK.QA).

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index (.EGX30) eased 0.1%, hit by a 2.8% fall in Fawry for Banking Technology and Electronic (FWRY.CA).

($1 = 3.7501 riyals)

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; editing by Barbara lewis

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