Traders work at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo, Egypt February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
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Expectations of higher margins on lending, cross-border deals and inclusion in global equity benchmarks are some of the reasons banks are rising to the top of the list for Middle East stock investors and analysts. Even in Qatar, where banks have been battered by liquidity concerns during the eight-month-long spat with neighbors, some lenders are seen as trading at attractive levels. Emirates NBD PJSC, Dubai's biggest bank, is preparing a March bid for Denizbank AS, a Turkish unit of Sberbank PJSC, people with knowledge of the matter said.If the bank relaxed its 5-percent cap on foreign ownership, the shares could rise as much as 40 percent, according to Meijer. Emirates NBD trades at 5.8 times its 12-month estimated earnings, compared with 9.2 times for emerging-market lenders tracked by MSCI Inc.Kuwait International Bank has an "attractive valuation," as it trades at 0.8 times expected book price for 2018, she said, compared to an average of 1.2 times for the MSCI EM Banks Index.
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