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MIDEAST STOCKS-Top bank boosts Egypt, Gulf falls in thin trade

Shakeel Ahmad and Ateeq Shariff

* Egypt's Talaat Mostafa rises on higher annual sales

* Dubai's Aramex suffers biggest one-day loss in a year

* Saudi stock index almost flat

* Qatar's Mesaieed jumps after free shares distributed

* United Development rises after asset sale

Jan 2 (Reuters) - Egypt's blue-chip stock index rose sharply on Wednesday, boosted by its biggest bank, while all major Gulf markets were weak, with some investors away on year-end holidays. The Egyptian index rose 1.3 percent as Commercial International Bank gained 1.9 percent. Real estate firm Talaat Mostafa rose 3.2 percent after saying its sales last year reached 21.3 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.2 billion), up from 13.1 billion pounds a year earlier. Orascom Development climbed 4.4 percent. It has been strong since announcing at the end of last week that it had sold some hotels, which would help reduce its debt. In Dubai - which fell 25 percent in 2018, the world's worst-performing major stock market in local currency terms - the index was down 0.4 percent. Courier firm Aramex dropped 4.4 percent in its biggest one-day loss since December 2017. Dubai's largest listed developer, Emaar Properties , shed 1.2 percent. The Saudi Arabian index edged down 0.1 percent with Samba Financial slipping 0.8 percent and Saudi International Petrochemical Co (Sipchem) dropping 2.7 percent. Qatar's index - one of the world's best performing markets last year with a 21 percent gain - dropped 0.2 percent with Industries Qatar falling 1.6 percent and Qatar National Bank slipping 1.1 percent. However, Mesaieed Petrochemical jumped by its 10 percent daily limit. It said major shareholder Qatar Petroleum had finished distributing a tranche of free incentive shares to investors, which may improve liquidity in the stock. Real estate firm United Development Co gained 1.7 percent after saying it had sold its stake in Seef Ltd to Qatar Petroleum for 214.4 million riyals ($59 million).

SAUDI The index edged downARABIA 0.1 pct to 7,791 pointsDUBAI The index lost 0.4 pct

to 2,521 points

QATAR The index fell 0.2 pct

to 10,280 points

ABU DHABI The index fell 1 pct to

4,867 points

EGYPT The index rose 1.3 pct

to 13,204 points

KUWAIT The index was up 0.7 pct

at 5,305 points

OMAN The index fell 0.7 pct

to 4,302 points

BAHRAIN The index dropped 0.6

pct to 1,329 points

(Editing by Andrew Torchia and Susan Fenton)