MIDEAST STOCKS-Kuwait extends rally; UAE mkts slip off multi-yr highs

DUBAI Mon May 20, 2013 10:26am EDT

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DUBAI May 20 (Reuters) - Kuwait's bourse extended sharp year-to-date gains in heavy trading on Monday, while profit-taking weighed on bourses in the United Arab Emirates and other markets were mixed.

Kuwait's index rose 1.3 percent to hit a fresh 46-month high, trading 111 million dinars ($387.9 million).

Companies owned by one of Kuwait's largest merchant families rose after a favourable court ruling.

Kuwaiti newspaper reports said Libya will have to pay the Kharafi Group $930 million in damages for former leader Muammar Gaddafi's cancelling of the construction of a vacation resort.

Telco Zain gained 2.9 percent, National Industries Group Holding climbed 2 percent and National Investments Company rose 2.4 percent.

Most large-caps rose, pushing the bluechip Kuwait 15 index up 13 points.

"We expect the market to continue its positive performance and maintain above the 8,000 points level mainly driven by the positive sentiment and the new liquidity channelled to the market," said Fouad Darwish, head of brokerage at Global Investment House. The index closed at 8,126 points.

In Saudi Arabia, shares in developer Dar Al Arkan halted two sessions of sharp gains after the firm said in a bourse statement it would not be paying a dividend for 2012 as it looks to fund business growth. The stock fell 6.3 percent.

The kingdom's benchmark climbed 0.1 percent, up for a fourth-straight session to hit a fresh one-year high.

Bluechips supported gains, with the banking shares measure adding 0.5 percent and the petrochemical sector index up 0.3 percent.

"I'm waiting to see if the positive momentum will continue - there aren't huge risks in the market right now but there also aren't huge rewards," said Faisal Al-Othman, portfolio manager at Riyadh-based Arab National Bank. "Sectors relying on local demand will be outperformers this year."

In the United Arab Emirates, profit-taking slowed the recent rally on the two main bourses.

Dubai's Arabtec fell 2.1 percent after thousands of workers at the firm staged a rare strike, demanding higher pay.

The emirate's benchmark snapped a nine-session rally, falling 0.5 percent to trim year-to-date gains to 44.3 percent.

Abu Dhabi benchmark slipped off its 54-month high, falling 1.2 percent.

Turnover has surged on the two markets as fresh cash is chasing gains following a sentiment revival in the property and banking sectors.

"Foreign interest has been holding up markets but there is heavy retail buying now," said Amer Khan, fund manager at Shuaa Asset Management. "I wouldn't speculate where the money is coming from - this is a rich country."

Elsewhere, Qatar's measure gained 0.6 percent after breaching 9,000 points for the first time since January 2011 in the previous session.

Egypt's benchmark slipped 0.4 percent and Oman's measure retreated 0.1 percent.

MONDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

KUWAIT

* The index rose 1.3 percent to 8,126 points.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index climbed 0.1 percent to 7,307 points.

DUBAI

* The index slipped 0.5 percent to 2,341 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index fell 1.2 percent to 3,523 points.

QATAR

* The benchmark advanced 0.6 percent to 9,064 points.

EGYPT

* The index retreated 0.4 percent to 5,432 points.

OMAN

* The index declined 0.1 percent to 6,385 points.

BAHRAIN

* The measure gained 0.4 percent to 1,163 points.

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