March 25, 2018 / 2:35 PM / 2 years ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dana Gas lifts Abu Dhabi; some Saudi blue-chips advance

* Dubai’s Deyaar bounces from technical support

* Emaar Properties slides to 21-month low

* Saudi Basic Industries, Al Rajhi Bank attract more money

* National Agriculture Development surges on acquisition

By Davide Barbuscia

DUBAI, March 25 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets were generally little changed on Sunday, though Abu Dhabi’s Dana Gas surged on news of plans for its first annual dividend for several years.

The Abu Dhabi index rose 0.8 percent as Dana Gas jumped 8.3 percent after the board said it would seek shareholder approval for a cash dividend for 2017 totalling 5 percent of capital, or about 349 million dirhams ($95 million).

By diverting money to shareholders, the plan could complicate Dana’s dispute with bondholders after the company’s decision not to redeem $700 million of sukuk that it said had become unlawful after changes in Islamic finance.

In Dubai, real estate business Deyaar Development was the best performer and most heavily traded stock, gaining 2.5 percent to 0.487 dirhams as it bounced from technical support on the November 2017 low of 0.470 dirhams.

But Dubai’s index fell by 1.1 percent as blue-chip Emaar Properties, hit by the slump in the emirate’s real estate market, dropped 2.7 percent to a 21-month closing low of 5.73 dirhams.

Egyptian investment bank Naeem Holding traded thinly on its listing in Dubai. It closed at 2.40 dirhams, having traded in Cairo at the end of last week at $0.65, equivalent to 2.39 dirhams. In Cairo on Sunday the stock slipped to $0.64.

The Saudi index closed almost flat but petrochemicals company Saudi Basic Industries, which has been attracting foreign money on Riyadh’s expected entry to emerging market indexes, gained 0.9 percent.

Another favourite of foreign investors, Al Rahji Bank , rose 0.7 percent while Samba Financial Group strengthened 1.3 percent.

National Agriculture Development (NADEC) was among the best performers, up 4.4 percent after announcing it had entered a definitive agreement to acquire dairy product and juice maker Al Safi Danone from two companies in a share swap. The deal will increase the number of NADEC shares to 138.3 million from 84.7 million.

The Qatari index shed 0.8 percent, pulled down by a 3 percent decline for Qatar First Bank, the most heavily traded stock.


* The index edged up 0.02 percent to 7,843 points.


* The index was down 1.1 percent to 3,115 points.


* The index was up 0.8 percent to 4,615 points.


* The index shed 0.8 percent to 8,753 points.


* The index dropped 0.5 percent to 16,985 points.


* The index was down 0.5 percent to 6,632 points.


* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 1,335 points.


* The index edged up 0.03 percent to 4,803 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia and David Goodman)

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