MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets little changed; Egypt unworried by U.S. aid cut
* Turnover modest as long Eid holidays approach
* Saudi Fransi, Almarai sink after earnings
* Bank Muscat fails to rise on strong profit
* Sembcorp Salalah falls back on second day of trade
* Egypt rises despite expected U.S. military aid cut
By Andrew Torchia
DUBAI, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets mostly edged up on Wednesday but stayed in small ranges with modest turnover as the crisis over the U.S. debt ceiling made it more risky to hold shares over the week-long Eid holidays that will start on Sunday.
Some mediocre third-quarter earnings also deterred buying. For example, Banque Saudi Fransi posted a 3.5 percent rise in net profit to 685 million riyals ($182.7 million), but missed analysts' average forecast of 758.2 million riyals. The stock dropped 2.5 percent.
Saudi Arabian dairy producer Almarai, which dropped 1.9 percent on Tuesday after its profit missed analysts' forecasts by a small margin, fell a further 1.9 percent to 52.00 riyals on Wednesday. That brought it near technical support at 51.67 riyals, the August low.
Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma'aden) edged up 0.4 percent after its third-quarter net profit more than trebled; analysts had expected a 40 percent drop in profit. But the rise was largely due to a one-off gain in the form of contract receipts from a phosphate joint venture.
The main Saudi market index climbed 0.2 percent.
Slightly better-than-expected earnings from Oman's largest lender Bank Muscat, which posted a 10.1 percent increase in its third-quarter net profit, failed to boost the stock or the overall Omani market.
Bank Muscat ended flat while the Omani index edged up 0.06 percent. Sembcorp Salalah Power and Water, which jumped 24.5 percent in heavy trade when it listed on Tuesday, fell back 2.3 percent as turnover shrank.
News that the United States was leaning toward withholding most military aid to Egypt did not affect that market, which rose 0.8 percent to its highest level since February.
Local investors are dominant in the market and have been pushing it up on the view that the army-backed government is succeeding in establishing its authority over the Islamist opposition. Cairo can count on heavy financial assistance from allied Gulf states regardless of what Washington does.
* The index fell 0.2 percent to 9,744 points.
* The index rose 0.2 percent to 7,977 points.
* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 3,851 points.
* The index gained 0.8 percent to 5,802 points.
* The index rose 0.2 percent to 2,798 points.
* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 7,704 points.
* The index ticked up 0.1 percent to 6,648 points.
* The index fell 0.4 percent to 1,191 points.
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