November 13, 2017 / 3:14 PM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-State funds support Saudi, GFH Financial boosts Dubai

* Saudi spends most of day lower, before buying in final hour

* Public Investment Fund-related banks continue to rise

* Alujain plunges as it resumes trading after suspension

* GFH Financial surges after describing business plan

* Emaar Properties rises after earnings

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market rose on Monday, apparently boosted by purchases of shares by state-linked funds, while a surge in GFH Financial lifted Dubai's bourse.

Data released by the Saudi exchange showed local individual investors were net sellers of stocks by a margin of about 13 percent last week because of the government's sweeping anti-corruption probe, which has raised fears that people detained in the crackdown could dump assets.

Foreign investors were net sellers by a bigger margin of 41 percent and Gulf investors were also net sellers. That left Saudi institutional investors net buyers by a large margin; most of them were government-linked funds deliberately supporting the market to avert a panic, many asset managers believe.

That pattern appeared to continue on Monday, when the market fell as much as 0.8 percent during the day but saw a burst of heavy buying in the final hour that caused the index to close 0.4 percent higher.

Banks performed well with National Commercial Bank gaining 1.7 percent and Samba Financial Group up 1.5 percent.

Both are part of the portfolio of the Public Investment Fund, which increased by almost $3 billion in value last week, Reuters calculations show, even as the market as a whole stagnated because of the probe - a sign of the PIF's growing power and authority.

But the most heavily traded stock, real estate developer Dar Al Arkan, fell back 2.5 percent after surging 18 percent in the previous two days following strong quarterly earnings.

Petrochemical investor Alujain sank 9.7 percent in its heaviest trade this year as it resumed trading after being suspended since August because of a delay in reporting earnings. It said third-quarter net profit fell to 36.1 million riyals ($9.6 million) from 36.8 million riyals.

In Dubai, the index also rose 0.4 percent. GFH surged 6.3 percent to 1.53 dirhams after swinging between 1.35 and 1.55 dirhams in its heaviest trade since February.

The company said it had exited real estate portfolios in Bahrain and the United States worth $180 million, would invest in the education sector, and planned to acquire a financial institution in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council by year-end.

Emaar Properties was up 1.5 percent after posting a 32 percent rise in third-quarter net profit to 1.51 billion dirhams ($411.2 million), beating SICO Bahrain's forecast of 1.36 billion dirhams.


* The index rose 0.4 percent to 6,962 points.


* The index rose 0.4 percent to 3,478 points.


* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 4,370 points.


* The index fell 0.2 percent to 7,857 points.


* The index dropped 1.0 percent to 14,123 points.


* The index climbed 1.2 percent to 6,251 points.


* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 1,263 points.


* The index rises 0.3 percent to 5,084 points. (Editing by William Maclean)

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