April 10, 2017 / 1:39 PM / 3 years ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Geopolitical risk keeps funds away, but Abu Dhabi's TAQA shines

* Shares of recently merged lender fall in Abu Dhabi

* TAQA up again at five-month high

* Dubai weak in thin volume

* Domestic-focused shares outperform in Saudi

* Egypt down, but foreign funds net buyers

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, April 10 (Reuters) - Most stock markets closed down on Monday with volumes low as geopolitical risk kept institutional funds away, but Abu Dhabi’s energy company TAQA kept rising after the government increased its stake in the company last week.

Abu Dhabi’s index fell 0.4 percent, with shares of the recently merged lender First Abu Dhabi Bank down 0.9 percent, its third consecutive session of declines.

Shares of what is now the largest bank by assets in the emirate outperformed last week as emerging market funds adjusted weightings in their portfolios to reflect the merger.

Abu Dhabi National Energy (TAQA), however, rose 1.7 percent to a five-month high and ahead of most other shares in the region.

Shares in the energy company have been attracting interest since last week, when Abu Dhabi’s state utility boosted its stake in the loss-making company to 74 percent, days after it granted land that could wipe out the energy company’s losses.

In the neighbouring emirate, Dubai’s index declined 0.5 percent in the lowest daily volume in a week. The builder of the tallest tower in the world, Emaar Properties, fell 0.5 percent and Dubai Islamic Bank lost 1.2 percent.

“Uncertainty about what’s next between the U.S. and Syria, and also more Islamic state attacks in Egypt, will keep many fund managers away from stocks for now,” a Dubai-based fund manager said.

Saudi Arabia’s index closed flat as 74 shares advanced and 68 of them declined.

Domestic-focused shares were some of the best performers, with electronics retailer United Electronics jumping 6.5 percent. Shares of the company have been volatile since it swung to a net profit in the first quarter from a net loss in the same period last year.

Supermarket operator Al Othaim climbed 2.1 percent.

Banking shares were generally weak with National Commercial Bank down 0.3 percent.

In Doha, the index edged down 0.2 percent giving up some of the small gains made earlier in the day. Commodities producer Industries Qatar fell 0.7 percent.

In Egypt, the index extended the previous session’s 1.6 percent losses, falling 0.4 percent. Global Telecom Holding was the worst performer on that index, dropping 4.7 percent.

On Sunday, attacks at two churches in Egypt killed at least 44 people, prompting investors to cash out.

On Monday, however, foreign funds were net buyers of shares in Egypt, exchange data showed, with some of stocks favoured by those funds outperforming. Commercial International Bank rebounded 0.9 percent.


* The index edged up 0.05 percent to 7,062 points.


* The index fell 0.5 percent to 3,537 points.


* The index declined 0.4 percent to 4,572 points.


* The index edged down 0.2 percent to 10,485 points.


* The index fell 0.1 percent to 7,008 points.


* The index edged down 0.4 percent to 12,849 points.


* The index fell 0.3 percent to 5.579 points.


* The index lost 0.9 percent to 1,363 points.

Editing by Larry King

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