January 11, 2018 / 3:48 PM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stocks firm on oil, Qatar gains for sixth straight day

* Investors positioning themselves for Qatari dividends

* Saudi’s PetroRabigh continues strong rally

* SABB, Alawwal Bank rise after sources say merger still on

* Dubai’s DXB Entertainments pulls back after soaring

* Egypt’s Emaar Misr rises after EFG Hermes “buy” rating

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Most major Gulf stock markets rose on Thursday after oil prices hit new 2-1/2 year highs, with Qatar’s bourse gaining for a sixth straight day as investors positioned themselves for annual dividends.

The Qatari index fell early on but closed 1.0 percent higher in active trade. Foreign investors turned net sellers for the first time in several days, exchange data showed.

Doha Bank surged 3.7 percent in its heaviest trade since the end of November while Qatar National Bank, the biggest lender, rose 1.5 percent. Medicare Group added 6.9 percent in its highest volume since last March.

The Saudi stock index rose 0.5 percent with 11 of 14 petrochemical shares gaining in response to the oil price. PetroRabigh, which has also been boosted by news of production starting at its Phase II complex, added a further 4.8 percent. It has jumped 19.5 percent this year.

Saudi British Bank surged 3.2 percent and Alawwal Bank rose 1.9 percent after financial sector sources told Reuters that their proposed merger, which is under discussion, had been delayed but not derailed.

Dubai’s index edged down 0.1 percent as the most heavily traded stock, amusement park operator DXB Entertainments , pulled back 1.6 percent after surging 13 percent this year.

Egypt’s index rose 0.3 percent as real estate developer Emaar Misr gained 2.9 percent to 3.85 Egyptian pounds after EFG Hermes resumed coverage of the stock with a “buy” rating and a target of 5.20 pounds.


* The index rose 0.5 percent to 7,338 points.


* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 3,495 points.


* The index rose 0.3 percent to 4,591 points.


* The index climbed 1.0 percent to 9,136 points.


* The index rose 0.3 percent to 15,242 points.


* The index added 0.5 percent to 6,561 points.


* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 1,317 points.


* The index fell 0.2 percent to 5,087 points.

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