MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks lead Egypt, Saudi stocks higher

* Egypt's blue-chip index at highest in 5 months

* GFH's Dubai shares plunges on Q4 profit fall

* Abu Dhabi Aviation slides on lower FY earnings

* Qatar stock exchange closed for a public holiday

Feb 12 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market rose on Tuesday as major banks rose on recovering oil prices, while Egypt's blue-chip index hit a five-month high, helped by its top lender Commercial International Bank. Saudi Arabia's index was up 0.7 percent, with Al Rajhi Bank rising 1.8 percent and Banque Saudi Fransi gaining 2.9 percent. The Saudi index has got off to a strong start this year, taking many by surprise, SICO Research said in a note, with a 10 percent gain year-to-date after returning 8.3 percent in 2018. The recent rally has been led mainly by foreigners buying close to 4.4 billion riyals ($1.2 billion) through a qualified foreign investors' scheme and swaps last month in anticipation of inflows after FTSE Russel and MSCI announced Saudi will join their emerging market indexes in 2019, SICO added. Saudi Arabia will join FTSE Russell's emerging market index in March and MSCI's emerging market benchmark following a two-step inclusion process in May and August. Saudi real estate stocks gained, with developer Emaar The Economic City adding 2.7 percent. Al Andalus Property was up 0.8 percent after announcing the Aljawharah Alkubra project which, it estimated, will cost around 873 million riyals. Property shares have risen following a royal decree to reimburse rising expatriate fees that will help labor-intensive sectors. Egypt's blue-chip index rose 1 percent to touch its highest since September 2018, with Commercial International Bank gaining 1.3 percent. The bank has surged 22.2 percent this year on the back of a 37 percent jump in its fourth-quarter net profit and the approval of an increase in its authorized capital to EGP 50 billion ($2.9 billion) from EGP 20 billion. The Abu Dhabi index fell 0.4 percent with Aldar Properties shedding 3.4 percent and Union National Bank slipping 0.8 percent. Union National reported a 28 percent drop in its full-year net profit after the market close. Abu Dhabi Aviation plunged 6.8 percent. The firm had reported a full-year net profit attributable to shareholders of 231.4 million dirhams ($63 million), down from 243.6 million dirhams a year earlier. In Dubai, the benchmark index was down 0.5 percent as most of its property stocks dropped. Major developer Emaar Properties slipped 1 percent and builder Arabtec retreated 3.8 percent ahead of a board meeting later on Tuesday to discuss full-year results. GFH Financial Group, which is primarily listed on the Bahrain stock exchange, slumped 9.8 percent in active trade. The firm reported fourth-quarter net profit attributable to shareholders of $10.6 million, down from $17 million a year earlier. The Qatar stock exchange was closed for a public holiday.

SAUDI The index rose 0.7 pct to 8,600 points

ARABIA

DUBAI The index shed 0.5 pct to 2,485 points ABU DHABI The index slid 0.4 pct to 5,024 points EGYPT The index rose 1 pct to 14,928 points KUWAIT The index rose 0.9 pct to 5,504 points OMAN The index fell 0.4 pct to 4,125 points BAHRAIN The index fell 0.7 pct to 1,389 points

($1 = 3.6729 UAE dirham)

($1 = 17.5500 Egyptian pounds)

(Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru Editing by Susan Fenton)