November 27, 2017 / 8:37 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf rises, Saudi gets support from cement sector

DUBAI, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Most Gulf stock markets rose in early trade on Monday with Saudi Arabia getting support from Al Jouf Cement and Saudi Industrial Export Co after the companies announced an export deal with Jordan.

The Saudi index climbed 0.6 percent in the first hour as Al Jouf surged 5.0 percent and Saudi Industrial Export Co jumped 6.4 percent in unusually heavy trade.

Saudi Industrial Export said it had signed a sale and marketing contract with Al Jouf to supply 72,000 tonnes of cement annually to Jordan.

Saudi cement firms have been hit by a domestic construction industry slowdown, and the Jordan deal appears to marks one of the industry’s first major export successes, after the Saudi government said in July that it was slashing cement export tariffs by 50 percent.

Saudi banks also rose, led by Bank Aljazira, which gained 1.5 percent, and National Commercial Bank, the kingdom’s biggest lender, which added 0.3 percent.

In Qatar, the main index rebounded 0.7 percent as real estate firm Ezdan Holding, which was downgraded to junk status by credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s earlier this month, climbed 3.5 percent. It has been recovering since late last week but is still down 48 percent year-to-date.

Dubai’s index was flat to higher although Drake & Scull rose 1.2 percent after it announced that its shares had been included in the MSCI GCC index. That index covers about 85 percent of the free float-adjusted market capitalisation in the Gulf Cooperation Council, and is less exclusive than MSCI’s emerging markets index, which is used by many more funds. (Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Andrew Torchia, William Maclean)

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