May 7, 2018 / 1:12 PM / 19 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets sluggish despite oil price gains

* Markets subdued despite oil price rise

* Saudi Arabia’s Savola Group rises on acquisition

* National Commercial Bank also higher

* In Abu Dhabi, Aldar slips after assets purchase

* Industries Qatar drives Qatari index up

By Tom Arnold

DUBAI, May 7 (Reuters) - Markets in the Gulf were sluggish on Monday as a surge in oil prices to more than three-year highs failed to lift stocks.

Oil prices rose to their highest levels since late-2014 on Monday, lifted by Venezuela’s deepening economic crisis and an upcoming decision on whether the United States will re-impose sanctions on Iran.

The rise helped boost some Saudi Arabian petrochemical stocks. Yanbu National Petrochemicals rose 1.3 percent.

But the Saudi benchmark index closed flat after reversing earlier losses.

Saudi Arabia’s largest food products company, Savola Group was one of the biggest gainers after it said late on Sunday it had purchased a 51 percent stake in Al Kabeer Group of Companies for 565.5 million riyals ($150.8 million). The impact of the deal on Savola’s results would be positive once the deal is completed during the second half of the year, it said.

National Commercial Bank, the kingdom’s largest bank, closed 1.2 percent up. The bank last week reported a 10.5 percent rise in first-quarter net profit, above analysts’ forecasts as bad debt charges fell and fees rose.

In Dubai, the index was down 0.1 percent, hurt by a 3.2 percent dip in index bellwether Emaar Properties.

Dubai Investments fell 1.6 percent despite the company reporting a rise in first-quarter profit to 362 million dirhams ($98.6 million), up from 289 million dirhams in the year earlier period.

The Abu Dhabi index was down 0.4 percent. One of the weights on the index was Aldar Properties, down 1.4 percent. Earlier on Monday, the developer said it had reached a deal with Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) to acquire real estate assets worth 3.7 billion dirhams.

The move is the latest sign of consolidation of state-controlled entities in the emirate.

The Qatari index closed 0.9 percent up. Industries Qatar, the Middle East’s second-biggest petrochemicals company and holding the largest weighting on the Qatar index, closed 2.0 percent higher.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index edged up 0.04 percent to 8,117 points.

DUBAI

* The index slipped 0.3 percent to 2,963 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index ticked down 0.4 percent to 4,541 points.

QATAR

* The index went up 0.9 percent to 8,984 points.

KUWAIT

* The index gained 0.2 percent to 4,796 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index gained 0.2 percent to 1,279 points.

OMAN

* The index shed 0.1 percent to 4,712 points.

EGYPT

* The index lost 0.5 percent to 17,523 points.

$1 = 3.6730 UAE dirham Editing by Louise Heavens

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