January 9, 2018 / 2:00 PM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves little, Egypt rises on presidential election date

* Qatar slows after surge on dividend-hunting

* Aamal Co rises on industrial plans

* PetroRabigh surges again in Saudi Arabia

* Dubai’s Air Arabia, Dubai Islamic Bank strong

* Egypt market anticipates Sisi win in March 26-28 poll

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets were mostly sluggish on Tuesday as Qatar slowed after surging for two days, but Egypt’s bourse rose after authorities announced a date for presidential elections.

The Qatari stock index closed 0.3 percent higher, well off early lows, as trading volume shrank by nearly a third. The index had gained 2.6 percent on Monday as investors positioned for annual dividend announcements in a few weeks.

Some of the best performers of the past two days pulled back, with Doha Bank losing 1.5 percent.

But Aamal Co rose 2.4 percent after announcing plans for an affiliate which it owns 50-50 with Egypt’s El Sewedy Electric Co to build three factories to produce copper wires, aluminium bars and drums for cables — the country’s first such factories.

In Saudi Arabia, the index fell 0.3 percent as petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries dropped 0.5 percent. But PetroRabigh gained a further 3.9 percent in the wake of the opening of facilities in its Phase II petrochemical complex.

Dubai’s index rose 0.4 percent as Air Arabia climbed 3.2 percent to its highest level since early February 2017, in its heaviest trade since mid-October. Dubai Islamic Bank rose 1.7 percent to its highest since August 2015.

But builder Drake & Scull dropped a further 3.5 percent on further profit-taking after big gains since November.

After the close, Dubai Financial Market released a list of the first 19 stocks for which it will permit regulated short-selling. They include Air Arabia and Drake & Scull as well as blue chips such as Emaar Properties.

In Egypt, the index gained 1.4 percent to a record high in its heaviest trade since November after the presidential elections were scheduled for March 26-28.

Incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has yet to announce his candidacy but is widely expected to run and win, which could extend a period of relative political stability and provide more time for Egypt’s economic reforms to bear fruit.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index fell 0.3 percent to 7,291 points.

DUBAI

* The index rose 0.4 percent to 3,505 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index was flat at 4,586 points.

QATAR

* The index rose 0.3 percent to 9,002 points.

EGYPT

* The index gained 1.4 percent to 15,159 points.

KUWAIT

* The index rose 0.3 percent to 6,519 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index fell 0.4 percent to 1,315 points.

OMAN

* The index edged down 0.03 percent to 5,106 points.

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