November 22, 2017 / 1:38 PM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Region up as oil gains, Emaar Development slumps on debut

* Emaar Development closes below net asset value

* Reflects slumping property market, geopolitical tensions

* But Dubai rises as Emaar Properties, GFH surge

* Saudi market in broad-based rebound

* Qatar climbs despite possible FX change by MSCI

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets mostly rebounded from several days of weakness on Wednesday, encouraged by strong oil prices, though Emaar Development sank on its debut after Dubai’s first big initial public offering since 2014.

Emaar Development, the local property development unit of Emaar Properties, closed at 5.77 dirhams, down from its IPO price of 6.03 dirhams, which represented its net asset value according to an estimate by consultants JLL.

The weak debut underlined two factors weighing heavily on Dubai. Its real estate market has been slumping for over two years as low oil prices cause governments around the region to cut spending and impose new taxes, slowing economic growth.

Meanwhile, rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran over instability in Lebanon and the conflict in Yemen have increasingly worried investors.

But Dubai’s index closed 1.0 percent higher as Emaar Properties, which had been falling in the days ahead of its unit’s listing, rebounded 2.6 percent.

Only 48.4 million Emaar Development shares traded on Wednesday against 800 million sold in the IPO, suggesting institutional investors were generally hanging on to the stock because of its high annualised dividend yield, estimated by SICO Bahrain at 9 percent for the next three years.

GFH Financial, by far the most heavily traded Dubai stock by volume, surged 6.1 percent after saying it had started talks with Saudi Arabian authorities to cross-list its shares in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia’s index rose 0.7 percent in a broad-based rebound as gainers outnumbered decliners by 140 to 41. Petrochemical investor Alujain jumped its 10 percent daily limit in heavy trade.

Qatar’s index added 0.4 percent as drilling rig provider Gulf International Services, the most heavily traded stock, surged 6.3 percent. It had been trading near eight-year lows.

The Qatari market shrugged off news that international equity index compiler MSCI may shift to using offshore foreign exchange rates to value Qatar’s market because sanctions against Doha have made it more difficult for foreign investors to obtain riyal onshore.

Offshore riyal rates are weaker than onshore rates and if the move went ahead, it could lead to changes in the weighting of Qatari stocks in MSCI’s emerging market index.

Abu Dhabi’s index fell 0.9 percent as telecommunications blue chip Etisalat retreated 1.2 percent.


* The index rose 0.7 percent to 6,822 points.


* The index climbed 1.0 percent to 3,445 points.


* The index dropped 0.9 percent to 4,274 points.


* The index added 0.4 percent to 7,798 points.


* The index increased 0.8 percent to 13,839 points.


* The index edged down 0.04 percent to 6,229 points.


* The index gained 0.4 percent to 1,269 points.


* The index edged up 0.02 percent to 5,078 points. (editing by John Stonestreet)

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