MIDEAST STOCKS-Kuwait hits 10-month high; Gulf ends mixed

DUBAI, April 30 Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:08am EDT

DUBAI, April 30 (Reuters) - Kuwait's index hit a 10-month high on Monday as retail investors picked up mid- and small-cap stocks, while UAE bourses ended lower and other Gulf markets were mixed.

Kuwait's index climbed 0.5 percent to its highest finish since June 2011.

Small and mid-cap stocks were the most active. Investor Holding, Gulf Investment House gained 5.3 and 7.9 percent respectively.

"A lot of smaller stocks are being traded aggressively and are demanding high valuations - from that perspective, the market is bubbling," said Jasem al-Zeraei, head of institutional sales at NBK Capital.

"We're seeing some local liquidity come back from last year but institutional and foreign investors are still playing a neutral role."

In Dubai, the index fell for a fourth session, slipping 0.5 percent to trim its 2012 gains to 20.5 percent.

Logistics operator Aramex shed 2.2 percent and contractor Arabtec lost 0.6 percent.

Dubai Islamic Bank fell 1 percent. It said its first-quarter net profit rose 11 percent, in line with one analyst's forecast.

Emaar Properties stemmed market losses, gaining 0.3 percent. It edged higher for a second session since posting consensus-beating first-quarter profit.

"Overall, there's no real excitement to gain from the earnings and consequently I expect UAE to move sideways until others drivers come in," said Julian Bruce, EFG-Hermes director of institutional equity sales.

Abu Dhabi's measure drops 0.3 percent.

Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate slipped 2.5 and 1.7 percent respectively.

In Qatar, the index rose 0.2 percent, up for a third session. The benchmark slumped to a one-month low last week.

Qatar Telecom was the main support, rising 1.5 percent. It reported on Sunday a 12 percent drop in first-quarter net profit, but still beat forecasts.

"Qtel had solid margins and with domestic retail activity due to a rights issue, the combination should support the stock," said Bruce.

In Egypt, Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) rose 1.8 percent in heavy trade after it said it was inviting its shareholders to vote on a proposal to split into two companies to become more competitive.

OCI, Egypt's biggest listed firm, said the regulator had approved its request to hold the shareholders' meeting on May 17, while final approval for the capital decrease of the existing company and the issuance of shares in the newly formed second company were still pending.

"We should see better value in the company if it is split into two," said Mohamed Kotb of Naeem Brokerage.

The benchmark index gained 0.5 percent.

Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia's bourse ended little changed as the market consolidated gains from a surge earlier this year.

The next support level is around 7,500 points, the 23.6 percent Fibonacci retracement of a short-term downward trend from April's 42-month peak.

Saudi Prince Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding Co ended flat. The company will sell Toronto Four Seasons hotel for C$142.5 million.

MONDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

KUWAIT

* The index gained 0.5 percent to 6,369 points.

DUBAI

* The index slipped 0.5 percent to 1,631 points.

ABU DHABI

* The measure declined 0.3 percent to 2,504 points.

QATAR

* The index advanced 0.2 percent at 8,704 points.

EGYPT

* The benchmark gained 0.5 percent to 4,945 points.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index inched up 0.04 percent to 7,558 points.

OMAN

* The measure eased just 0.03 percent to 5,869 points.

BAHRAIN

* The measure gained 0.4 percent at 1,153 points. (Additional reporting by Patrick Werr in Cairo; Editing by Firouz Sedarat)

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