February 27, 2019 / 1:23 PM / 20 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar slides on sell-off, rest of Gulf mixed

    * 16 of 20 stocks on Qatari index slide
    * Leejam Sports jumps on strong FY results
    * Palm Hill Development falls on FY earnings
    * First Abu Dhabi adds after increasing foreign ownership
limit

    By Abinaya Vijayaraghavan
    Feb 27 (Reuters) - Qatar's index fell on Wednesday as it
witnessed heavy selling from local and GCC investors, while
Saudi Arabia inched up, partly lifted by corporate results.
    The Qatar index fell 1.2 percent, with 16 of its 20
stocks dropping. 
    Blue-chips Qatar Insurance slid 6 percent and
Qatar Islamic Bank was down 2 percent.
    The Qatar exchange, which jumped 21 percent in 2018, was one
of the world's best-performing markets for the year, after
limits were lifted on foreign ownership of shares. 
    But the index has experienced a spate of selling this month,
with investors looking to allocate money to other regional
markets that offer better valuations and short term catalysts.
    The index was pressured by selling from Qatari and GCC
shareholders in this session, despite buying from non-Qatari
investors, according to data on the stock exchange.
    Saudi Arabia's index inched up 0.2 percent, with
Leejam Sports rising 6.2 percent to end as the top
gainer. The company posted higher full-year net profit and
sales. 
    Travel services provider Al Tayyar changed course
to add 3.6 percent despite reporting a loss for the year,
following a 421 million-riyal loss on the disposal of its
investments.
    Arqaam Capital maintained its "buy" rating on Al Tayyar,
saying it sees value in the firm's 14.7 percent stake in
ride-hailing service Careem. 
    The Egyptian blue-chip index lost 0.8 percent,
pulled down by financial stocks. 
    Commercial International Bank, the stock with the
largest weight on the index, declined for the fifth straight
day, falling 1.8 percent.
    Ezz Steel Co was down 3.2 percent. Arqaam Capital
said it expects another quarter of losses to the tune of 646
million Egyptian pounds ($36.94 million) in the fourth-quarter
as margins are weighed down by subdued prices.
    Palm Hill Development decreased 2.5 percent. The
firm reported a drop in its full-year standalone net profit and
revenue.
    The Dubai index shed 0.3 percent, with four of its
six property stocks falling. 
    Emaar Development was down 3.8 percent and
developer Deyaar lost 3.5 percent. 
    Emaar Malls, which bought 49 percent of e-commerce
fashion website Namshi from Global Fashion Group for 475.5
million dirhams, dropped 1.1 percent.
    Dubai's index, which was one of the world's worst performing
markets last year, has risen 5.8 percent this year, mainly
because of strong fourth-quarter earnings at real estate
companies.
    Abu Dhabi's index rose 0.2 percent, with Dana Gas
 climbing 3.4 percent and First Abu Dhabi, the
biggest lender in the United Arab Emirates, adding 0.7 percent. 
    First Abu Dhabi's shareholders approved the increase of its
foreign ownership limit to 40 percent from 25 percent on
Tuesday.

 SAUDI       The index         rose 0.2 pct to 8,473 points
 ARABIA      
 DUBAI       The index          fell 0.3 pct to 2,676 points
 QATAR       The index        lost 1.2 pct to 10,136 points
 ABU DHABI   The index        rose 0.2 pct to 5,152 points
 EGYPT       The index          declined 0.8 pct to 14,772
             points 
 KUWAIT      The index        rose 0.7 pct to 5,539 points
 OMAN        The index        added 0.6 pct to 4,112 points
 BAHRAIN     The index        was up 0.3 pct to 1,419 points
 

($1 = 17.4900 Egyptian pounds)

 (Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru
Editing by Frances Kerry)
  
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