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Abu Dhabi shares at record, shrug off Mideast tension

Dubai: Abu Dhabi's main stock index jumped to a record on Sunday, even amid heightened tensions in the region, as the benchmark's biggest member surged on hopes of foreign inflows.

The ADX General Index climbed as much as 2.1% boosted by First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC, the biggest lender in the UAE. The stock surged as much as 5.8% after MSCI Inc. last week announced a quarterly review that could trigger about $500 million in flows from abroad.

Shares in Oman also gained while those in Dubai slid. Stock markets in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt and Israel are closed for holidays.

Abu Dhabi's index rose despite rising tensions in the Middle East as clashes between Israelis and Palestinians escalate. Israel's benchmark TA-35 index fell 0.5% last week and the broader TA-125 declined 0.6%, the first weekly decline since March 25.

The Palestine Stock Exchange Al Quds Index declined as much as 0.7% Sunday, paring this year's gain to 3.4%. The market was closed for most of last week due to a holiday, when clashes increased.

Positive earnings that have beaten expectations for some companies in the UAE is offsetting geopolitical risk, according to Joice Mathew, the head of equity research at United Securities in Muscat. "Geopolitics risk is back into the regional markets," he said in a message, adding that markets should reflect that as trading resumes this week.