MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf markets weak but Dubai, Saudi rise

Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:31am EDT

Related Topics

* Emaar recovers from post-AGM dip; Arabtec rises in volatile trade

* Banks drag down Abu Dhabi index

* Qatar's Ezdan ends bull run after strong Q1 results

* Almarai lifts Saudi Arabia's bourse after NBK raises target

* Omantel sinks as shares sold by government start trading

By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, April 27 (Reuters) - Dubai, lifted by property-related stocks, and Saudi Arabia, supported by food producer Almarai, were the only gaining share markets in an otherwise weak Gulf on Sunday.

The main Dubai index climbed 0.6 percent, largely on the back of real estate developer Emaar Properties and builder Arabtec Holding.

Trading volume was moderate, however, and fell by about 40 percent from Thursday's level - possibly a sign that some investors have started withdrawing from the market in anticipation of a downward correction after this year's huge gain of 52 percent.

Shares in Emaar, which fell 1.4 percent in the previous session after the firm's annual shareholder meeting did not hike the 2013 dividend beyond the board's proposal as some investors had hoped, closed up 1.9 percent. At 11.00 dirhams, the stock came close to the six-year high of 11.15 dirhams which it hit last week.

Arabtec rose 2.9 percent on relatively high turnover, continuing a pattern of volatile trading which emerged as it climbed to a historic high last week. On Sunday, its price moved between 8.74 and 9.26 dirhams.

Abu Dhabi's benchmark declined 0.4 percent as shares in most large banks, as well as developer Aldar Properties , retreated.

QATAR, SAUDI

Qatar's index slid 0.7 percent to 12,860 points with most stocks in the red, continuing to ease from the all-time closing high of 12,962 points hit last Wednesday.

United Development, up 7.0 percent, was one of a few stocks that rose. Last week, the company, which is developing The Pearl residential complex on an artificial island in Doha, said it had agreed to sell 47 plots of land in the area for 1.45 billion riyals ($398 million).

After the close, the company reported an overall first-quarter net profit of 360 million riyals, up 57 percent from a year earlier.

Shares in Qatar Gas Transport Co (Nakilat) rose 0.5 percent after it reported a 16.6 percent rise in first-quarter profit on Sunday, in line with an estimate published by Qatar National Bank.

Shares in another local firm, Ezdan Holding, tumbled 9.9 after it announced first-quarter results, even though its net profit jumped 82 percent and was the highest in at least five years.

The company, founded and chaired by members of the ruling al-Thani family, had seen its stock price more than triple this month, and the results announcement appeared to be a cue for profit-taking.

"The stock is not very liquid, with a free float of less than 1 percent," noted a trader in Doha.

Although the stock itself is not part of the main index, speculation that Ezdan would buy large stakes in some sharia-compliant stocks helped drive up the share price this month.

Last week, the company bought 20.16 percent of Widam Food , whose shares jumped 40 percent this month before pulling back. Widam fell 2.7 percent on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's bourse edged up 0.2 percent on the back of insurance companies and food producers.

Food producer Almarai continued to surge, rising 5.5 percent to 71.00 riyals, a fresh all-time high, after NBK Capital last week raised its fair value estimate for the stock by 5 percent to 78.00 riyals.

Omantel sank 4.7 percent to 1.43 riyals as trading of shares sold by the government began. Last week, authorities said the second part of the government's offer of 19 percent of the company was only 1.05 times subscribed; the shares were sold at 1.35 rials each, Reuters calculations showed.

SUNDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

DUBAI

* The index rose 0.6 percent to 5,116 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index edged down 0.4 percent to 5,153 points.

QATAR

* The index slipped 0.7 percent to 12,860 points.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index edged up 0.2 percent to 9,575 points.

EGYPT

* The index fell 0.6 percent to 8,247 points.

KUWAIT

* The index slid 0.3 percent to 7,426 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index was flat at 1,419 points.

OMAN

* The index slipped 0.8 percent to 6,717 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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