MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt leads regional gains; banks weigh on Bahrain

Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:12am EDT

Related Topics

* Egypt resumes rally as retail investors back Sisi

* Dubai recovers from Monday's profit-taking

* Amlak's return to market good for Dubai's Emaar - broker

* Bahrain bank stocks extend declines

* Oman skips Tuesday's session due to glitch

By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, March 25 (Reuters) - Egypt's bourse resumed a rally after a minor correction on Monday to lead gains across the Middle East, while Bahraini banks weighed on Manama's bourse after some lenders went ex-dividend or chose not to pay dividends at all.

Egypt's market index added 1.1 percent in widespread gains despite fresh protests against death sentences handed down to 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Local retail investors have been driving the index higher since former president Mohamed Morsi was ousted in a military coup last year.

These investors seem confident Egyptian Army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will bring stability if he is elected president and Sisi's official bid now appears imminent.

Optimism about political transition has been one of the main drivers of the continuing rally, said Mohamed Radwan, director of international sales at Pharos Securities.

"It has been a very good couple of weeks," he said. "The market has been moving on a strong momentum."

DUBAI

Dubai's bourse added 0.6 percent, rebounding following Monday's mild profit-taking.

Heavyweight Emaar Properties rose 0.2 percent after a UAE minister said the shares of indebted mortgage lender Amlak, an Emaar affiliate, would resume trading in the second half of this year.

"We believe this action is positive for Emaar, which has total assets of about 938 million dirhams ($255.38 million) invested in Amlak," brokerage Mubasher said in a note.

"...Resuming trading for Amlak could, in our view, add to Emaar's valuation via Amlak's market value; even if this was a minimal add."

Abu Dhabi's bourse climbed 0.2 percent despite Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) dropping by its daily limit of 10 percent after the company reported a 2013 loss and proposed no dividend payout.

The stock sank to 1.26 dirhams, hitting major technical support at 1.26-27 dirhams, the lows this month and last December.

BAHRAIN BANKS

Bahrain's bourse fell 1.5 percent as local banks continued to slide.

Khaleeji Commercial Bank shed another 2 percent after posting the same decline on Monday when it said it had cancelled plans to merge with unlisted Bank Al Khair.

Arab Banking Corp, which plunged its daily limit of 10 percent a day earlier after going ex-dividend, lost another 7.4 percent.

It jumped its daily limit for five straight sessions earlier this month in anticipation of its $0.05-a-share dividend.

Ahli United Bank slid 1.2 percent after announcing that its shares would not entitle their holders to an 18 percent cash dividend from Wednesday.

Bahrain Islamic Bank fell 2.8 percent after its shareholders decided to pay no dividends for 2013.

In Oman, trading was suspended shortly after the session opened on Tuesday due to a technical issue. The bourse said trading would resume on Wednesday.

TUESDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

EGYPT

* The index rose 1.1 percent to 8,502 points.

DUBAI

* The index climbed 0.6 percent to 4,345 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index edged up 0.2 percent to 4,812 points.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index rose 0.05 percent to 9,434 points.

QATAR

* The index climbed 0.5 percent to 11,310 points.

KUWAIT

* The index rose 0.4 percent to 7,581 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index fell 1.5 percent to 1,356 points. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE Dirhams) (Editing by Matt Smith)

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