August 1, 2018 / 8:12 AM / 4 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar rises on positive sentiment, other markets mixed

RIYADH, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Qatar’s stock market rose in early Wednesday trade on positive sentiment among investors, whereas other markets were mixed amid lacklustre trading as investors await positive news to make new positions.

The Qatari index rose 0.5 percent, backed by solid gains led by Qatar Islamic Bank and Masraf Al Rayan , which added 2.3 percent and 1.2 percent respectively.

The index has risen 15.7 percent year-to-date, overtaking Saudi Arabia as the best-performing index in the Gulf region. The Saudi stock market has risen 14.8 percent year-to-date.

Generally positive second-quarter results in recent weeks have helped sustain a rally that started after several Qatari companies raised limits on foreign ownership.

In Saudi Arabia, which houses the region’s biggest bourse, the index was flat, still under pressure from a number of blue chips led by banks as investors were cautious about valuations.

Samba Financial Group rose 1.3 percent and petrochemical giant SABIC added 0.3 percent.

Alinma Bank rose 1.0 percent while Riyad Bank lost 0.6 percent.

Saudi Advanced Industries jumped 4.5 percent, the highest percentage rise in early trading. It reported earlier on Wednesday that second-quarter net profit rose to 13.7 million riyals ($3.7 million) versus 7.6 million a year earlier.

In Dubai, the index was also flat, with modest trading on a handful of shares.

Emaar Malls rose 1.5 percent, continuing an uptrend since it announced on Monday a nearly 15 percent jump in quarterly earnings, broadly in line with market forecasts.

Dubai Islamic Bank added 0.4 percent while Dubai Investments lost 0.9 percent.

The Abu Dhabi Index lost 0.3 percent, also amid weak trading, with First Abu Dhabi Bank and Etisalat losing 0.7 percent and 0.3 percent respectively.

$1 = 3.7503 riyals Reporting by Marwa Rashad; Editing by Dale Hudson

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