February 23, 2014 / 1:31 PM / in 4 years

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt crosses key level as financials rise; Gulf mkts mixed

DUBAI, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Egypt’s bourse surged on Sunday to a new 65-month high and crossed a key psychological level as improving financial outlook lifted sentiment, while Gulf shares were mixed.

Cairo’s EFG-Hermes surged 6.9 percent to its highest since March 2012 in a delayed reaction to the improved outlook in its asset management business.

The firm said last week it would expand assets under management in Egypt by 25 percent in 2014.

“Egypt has been seeing increased volumes and moves and it’s about time EFG caught up with the market, reflecting the growth in the asset management industry,” said Mohamed Radwan, director of international sales at Pharos Securities.

Commercial International Bank, Egypt’s largest lender, climbed 2.3 percent. The bank has helped draw in foreign investors in recent sessions - both to its own stock and the wider market - after it posted a 29 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit.

Cairo’s index rose 1.5 percent to 8,009 points, its highest since September 2008, and crossing the 8,000 psychological resistance level. It will however need a weekly close above that level to confirm a breakout.

In Saudi Arabia, the measure gained 0.4 percent to 9,024 points, crossing the 9,000 psychological resistance for the first time since July 2008.

Banking shares supported the market with the sector’s index up 0.5 percent.

Shares in small-cap Amana Insurance jumped 9.8 percent to a four-week high in heavy trade. The stock exchange data showed a new large shareholder in Amana that now owns 6 percent of the firm.

Elsewhere, UAE bourses edged lower as investors booked profits after sharp year-to-date gains with financial and property-related shares weighing.

Dubai’s index fell 1.4, down for a third session in the last four and cutting 2014 gains to 22.1 percent.

The measure is range-bound, trading within 114 points for the last eight days.

“Most of the companies have announced results so it’s already priced in,” said a Dubai-based trader who asked not to be identified due to company policy. “We should see profit-taking this week and the market could pick up again next month.”

Shares in Union Properties fell 1.5 percent and contractor Drake And Scull dropped 7.3 percent.

Abu Dhabi’s measure retreated 0.9 percent, trimming 2014 gains to 13.5 percent.

Large-cap First Gulf Bank shed 1.8 percent.



* The index climbed 1.5 percent to 8,009 points.


* The index rose 0.4 percent to 9,023 points.


* The index fell 1.4 percent to 4,123 points.


* The index slipped 0.9 percent to 4,872 points.


* The index slipped 0.1 percent to 7,728 points.


* The index ticked up 0.1 percent to 11,886 points.


* The index rose 0.8 percent to 1,376 points.


* The index slipped 0.4 percent to 7,137 points.

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