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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi underperforms region but car-related shares rise again
October 2, 2017 / 1:56 PM / in 2 months

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi underperforms region but car-related shares rise again

* Saudi banking sector soft

* Atheeb Telecom sinks as shares resume trading

* Qatar stabilises as most blue chips rise

* Egypt up again but profit-taking cuts gains

* Qalaa Holding down on wider H1 net loss

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Most stock markets in the Middle East made small gains on Monday with Egypt hitting yet another all-time high, while the Saudi Arabian index edged down.

The Riyadh index lost 0.1 percent; the banking sector was soft with Banque Saudi Fransi dropping 1.3 percent.

Shares of telecommunications operator Atheeb, which had been suspended by the capital markets regulator since Sept. 25, tumbled 3.1 percent.

The company on Monday issued a statement saying it was still waiting for authorities to grant it a unified licence, which would enable Atheeb to obtain a loan to build its spectrum and pay its dues to the telecommunications regulator.

Shares of car-related companies, however, resumed rising after the government said last week that it would next year lift a ban on women driving.

Car rental company United International Transport (Budget Saudi) climbed 3.2 percent and car servicing company Saudi Automotive jumped 4.0 percent in active trade.

Banking shares helped take Qatar’s index 0.1 percent higher; Masraf Al Rayan rose 1.5 percent.

The latest monthly Reuters poll of regional fund managers, published on Thursday, showed sentiment toward Qatar’s stock market had on balance turned positive after it plunged in response to sanctions imposed by other Arab states.

Valuations have in some cases reached distressed levels and dividend yields are attractive. Masraf Al Rayan, for example, had a dividend yield of 5.5 percent as of Monday’s close.

In Kuwait, some shares continued to be bid up after rising on Sunday on news that index compiler FTSE was upgrading Kuwait to secondary emerging market status. Warehousing company, Agility, added a further 1.1 percent. The main index finished almost flat.

The Dubai index rebounded 0.5 percent as most mid- to large-sized companies rose, including Emaar Properties , which climbed 1.1 percent. It is expected soon to reveal the valuation of its local real estate development arm, in which it plans to offer a stake to the public.

In Abu Dhabi, the index added 0.4 percent as three of the top five most valuable shares rose; First Abu Dhabi Bank gained 0.5 percent.

Egypt’s main index rose 0.2 percent to 14,000 points, a record high, but closed 102 points below its intra-day high, showing substantial profit-taking pressure.

The index has gained momentum in the last 10 days as it has started to price in a reversal of tight monetary policy.

Egyptian Chemical Industries, which is proceeding with a capital increase, soared almost 10 percent in its heaviest trade ever on Monday. But private equity firm Qalaa Holdings lost 3.8 percent after it reported a wider net loss for the first half of the year.

HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index fell 0.1 percent to 7,224 points.

DUBAI

* The index added 0.5 percent to 3,561 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index rose 0.4 percent to 4,427 points.

QATAR

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 8,302 points.

EGYPT

* The index rose 0.2 percent to 14,000 points.

KUWAIT

* The index added 0.04 percent to 6,675 points.

OMAN

* The index rose 0.6 percent to 5,186 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia and Alison Williams)

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