September 27, 2018 / 8:22 AM / 2 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks lift Dubai, most Gulf markets gain modestly

Sept 27 (Reuters) - Dubai’s stock market rose sharply early on Thursday, boosted by banks and property stocks, while most other Gulf markets gained by much more modest margins.

The Dubai index climbed 1.3 percent as the largest bank in Dubai, Emirates NBD, jumped 4.5 percent to 9.35 dirhams in unusually heavy trade. Many analysts consider it undervalued; 11 analysts covering the stock have a median target price of 13.20 dirhams, according to Thomson Reuters data.

ENBD’s unit Emirates Islamic on Tuesday said it would launch mortgages to help non-residents buy property in the United Arab Emirates.

Builder Arabtec rose 3.8 percent after announcing fresh information about a 3.2 billion dirham ($871 million) contract won by a consortium involving one of its units. It said the unit expected to have a 40-50 percent share of the contract, for a liquefied natural gas project in Abu Dhabi.

Another construction firm, Drake and Scull International , added 0.6 percent ahead of a shareholder meeting later in the day that will vote on whether dissolve the company. The stock hit a record closing low on Wednesday but Tabarak Investment, DSI’s biggest shareholder, has said it is committed to restoring DSI to financial health.

Saudi Arabia’s stock index rose marginally in the first hour on the back of financial stocks. Samba Financial gained 2.7 percent, while National Commercial Bank was up 1.4 percent, helping the main index rise 0.3 percent.

Abu Dhabi’s index was up 0.4 percent in morning trade as telecommunications group Etisalat gained 1.9 percent.

Qatar’s index was trading down marginally, as Qatar Gas Transport fell 1.8 percent. The index edged down 0.03 percent. (Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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