MIDEAST STOCKS-Retail investors boost Gulf; Egypt up after Brotherhood ban
DUBAI, Sept 23
DUBAI, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Active trading by retail investors boosted Gulf stock markets on Monday while Egypt rose after a court banned the Muslim Brotherhood from carrying out any activities in the country.
Saudi Arabia was closed for a national holiday but across much of the Gulf, individual investors speculated actively ahead of third-quarter earnings announcements expected next month.
"Retail investors are very active in the market, targeting the penny stocks and the highly liquid names," Sebastien Henin, portfolio manager at The National Investor, said of Dubai.
Dubai's index climbed 1.0 percent to 2,709 points in some of the heaviest trade this year, leaving it close to its August peak of 2,762 points, which many analysts consider strong technical resistance.
The most active stock was Gulf Navigation, which soared 10.1 percent after the firm, which made a loss last year because of tough conditions in the oil shipping market, said it planned to sell some ships and might get a cash injection.
In a statement to the bourse, it said the board of directors would ask shareholders for approval to sell its two very large crude carriers, and had conducted "positive communications with major shareholders to inject cash into GNH". It did not elaborate on the size or timing of any cash injection.
Small-capital property stocks Deyaar and Union Properties also traded heavily, as did Dubai builder Arabtec, which climbed 2.0 percent.
The overall Abu Dhabi market was barely changed but Dana Gas rose 1.6 percent to close at 0.64 dirham, off a high of 0.68 dirham, possibly because of bets it may soon recover at least some of the $230 million in overdue payments for gas supplies which it is owed by Egypt.
Egypt is close to agreeing a schedule for repaying $6 billion in outstanding debt to foreign oil companies, the country's prime minister said this month.
RAK Properties, the most active Abu Dhabi stock, gained 2.9 percent.
Qatar's market climbed 0.1 percent, stabilising after a 0.9 percent drop on Sunday that was caused by investors selling stocks to prepare for an initial public offer by a Qatar Petroleum unit that could come by the end of this year.
Qatar Petroleum has picked two banks to help it arrange a public share sale for one of its units, in an offer which could be worth around 3.2 billion riyals ($880 million), two banking sources said.
In Egypt, the index gained 1.1 percent to 5,648 points after a court banned the Muslim Brotherhood from carrying out any activities in the country and ordered the seizure of the group's funds, strengthening a campaign to debilitate the Islamist movement of deposed President Mohamed Mursi.
Although some foreign investors think such steps could widen political divisions in the country and store up trouble for the future, many Egyptian investors welcome signs that the army-backed government is taking a tough line against the Brotherhood, which is blamed for much of Egypt's economic difficulties.
Egyptian investors were net buyers of stocks on Monday while foreigners were net sellers, continuing a pattern that has prevailed in recent days, according to bourse data.
The index is now close to strong technical resistance at 5,682, its August peak.
* The index rose 1.0 percent to 2,709 points.
* The index gained 0.2 percent to 3,816 points.
* The index rose 1.1 percent to 5,648 points.
* The index climbed 0.1 percent to 9,798 points.
* The index rose 0.7 percent to 7,901 points.
* The index gained 0.1 percent to 6,587 points.
* The index fell 0.3 percent to 1,192 points.
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