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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatari stock market rebounds, Zain pulls back in Kuwait
October 9, 2017 / 3:00 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatari stock market rebounds, Zain pulls back in Kuwait

* Technical rebound may be starting in Qatar

* Index rises from five-year low

* Zain drops despite Omantel interest in stake

* Drake & Scull rises again in Dubai, GFH sinks

* Owners of Iraqi mobile firms fall on Kurdistan tensions

By Aziz El Yaakoubi

DUBAI, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Banking shares boosted Qatar’s stock market on Monday as it rebounded from a five-year low, while Kuwaiti telecommunications firm Zain fell despite a plan by Oman Telecommunications to become a strategic investor in it.

Qatar’s index, which had tumbled as much as 1.6 percent on Sunday but finished 0.1 percent higher, gained 0.9 percent on Monday. That suggested a technical rebound might be starting to erase some of the steep losses since June 5, when four Arab states imposed sanctions on Doha.

Banking and telecommunications sectors attracted most of the interest in heavy trade: Commercial Bank of Qatar climbed 1.8 percent while Ooredoo rose 1.2 percent.

Ooredoo has a unit in Iraq called Asiacell. Shares in two Kuwaiti companies with telecommunications affiliates in Iraq fell, however, after the Iraqi government said it would seek to impose control over Kurdistan-based mobile phone operators and move their headquarters to the capital Baghdad following last month’s referendum on Kurdish independence.

Logistics firm Agility, a major investor in Erbil-based Korek, fell 1.9 percent and Zain, parent of Zain Iraq, sank 3.5 percent.

Confirming market rumours, Omantel said it had signed a non-binding letter of intent with a vehicle of Kuwait’s Al Kharafi family to buy a further 12 percent of Zain.

That would make Omantel, which bought 9.84 percent of Zain in August, a strategic investor in the company and the second biggest shareholder after Kuwait Investment Authority.

But Omantel did not reveal a price for its planned purchase and Zaion, which had jumped 3.4 percent on Thursday in response to the rumours, fell back. Omantel rose 1.8 percent.

Saudi Arabia’s index fell 1.1 percent with telecommunications shares particularly weak; Mobily lost 4.1 percent. Insurer Malath slid 7.6 percent.

Retailer Jarir Marketing closed 0.7 percent lower after initially rising when it reported that third-quarter net profit rose 13 percent from a year earlier.

United Arab Emirates-listed shares of Sudanese companies lost steam after soaring 15 percent on Sunday in response to the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Sudan. Abu Dhabi-listed Sudatel Telecom fell back 1.5 percent after heavy trade and Al Salam Bank Sudan retreated 4.6 percent.

The Dubai index was flat although builder Drake & Scull, the most heavily-traded stock, surged 6.2 percent. The stock has been rising sharply since last Wednesday after it completed a capital restructuring that involved Tabarak Investment receiving 500 million new shares.

However, GFH Financial Group, the second most active stock, fell 3.5 percent.

Egypt’s index fell 0.2 percent on the back of a drop in the banking sector, with Commercial International Bank down 1.9 percent.

HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index fell 1.1 percent to 7,114 points.

DUBAI

* The index was flat at 3,611 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index climbed 0.5 percent to 4,451 points.

QATAR

* The index rebounded 0.9 percent to 8,213 points.

EGYPT

* The index fell 0.2 percent to 13,969 points.

KUWAIT

* The index edged down 0.2 percent to 6,649 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index fell 0.5 percent to 1,273 points.

OMAN

* The index edged down 0.03 percent to 5,167 points. (Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi,; Editing by Andrew Torchia amd Ed Osmond)

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