October 31, 2017 / 8:31 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stays sluggish but Saudi's PetroRabigh surges on strong results

DUBAI, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s stock market stayed soft in early trade on Tuesday despite a big rebound by petrochemical company PetroRabigh, while real estate-related shares again weighed on Dubai.

The Saudi stock index dropped 0.3 percent in the first hour as PetroRabigh’s gain was offset by losses in the banking and insurance sectors.

PetroRabigh jumped 5.6 percent in heavy trade; it reported third-quarter net profit of 706‍ million riyals ($188.3 million) versus a year-earlier loss of 211 million riyals, with sales surging 43 percent.

But this failed to push up the petrochemical sector in general, with Saudi Kayan edging down 0.2 percent in heavy trade and National Petrochemical falling 0.2 percent.

Most Saudi banks were down with Alinma Bank, the most heavily traded lender in the Saudi market, losing 0.2 percent and National Commercial Bank, the kingdom’s largest lender, also falling 0.2 percent.

The Dubai index edged down 0.2 percent as Emaar Properties lost 0.5 percent and builder Drake & Scull dropped 2.5 percent.

Qatar’s index edged down 0.1 percent because of banking shares; Qatar First Bank fell 0.8 percent while Qatar National Bank, the largest bank in the region, sank 0.6 percent.

In Kuwait, where the ruling emir accepted the resignation of the prime minister and his cabinet on Monday, the main index fell 0.4 percent. The ministers will continue important duties until a new cabinet is sworn in. The stock market is not expected to be affected much as such episodes are common in Kuwaiti politics. (Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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