Approval of lenders’ merger plans stokes investor speculation of further bank consolidations in the UAE
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Abu Dhabi stocks led gains across Gulf Arab equity markets as two of the emirate's biggest banks approved plans to merge, stoking investor speculation there will be further consolidation in the sheikhdom.The ADX General Index rose 1.2 percent to the highest level since April. National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC added 4 percent and First Gulf Bank PJSC climbed 2 percent as the lenders plan to merge in the first quarter of 2017, according to a joint statement on Sunday. FGB climbed to 12.85 dirhams, the highest level in two weeks; NBAD, the UAE's second-largest bank by assets, rose to 10.05 dirhams, the highest level since September 2015; Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC advanced 3.8 percent; Union National Bank PJSC jumped 5.9 percent to a six-month high; and Sharjah Islamic Bank PJSC increased 3.3 percentOman's MSM 30 Index advanced 0.6 percent on Sunday and Qatar's QE Index climbed 0.4 percent.
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