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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi rebounds on insurers, QNB rises after earnings
October 12, 2017 / 2:08 PM / 11 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi rebounds on insurers, QNB rises after earnings

* Most insurers rise after plunge on Wednesday

* Qatar National Bank profit at high end of estimates

* Dubai’s Marka slides after announcing recovery plan

* National Bank of Ras al Khaimah surges after securing loan

* Egypt’s Arab Cotton Ginning buoyed by dividend

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s stock market rebounded on Thursday as insurance stocks regained some strength, while Qatar’s biggest bank edged up after it reported solid earnings.

The main Saudi index, which had sunk 2.2 percent on Wednesday, rose 1.4 percent to 6,988 points after testing demand at lower levels. However, it remained below the 200-day average, now at 7,041 points, which it fell through this week - a negative technical signal.

Twenty-three of the 33 listed insurers rose. All but one had dropped on Wednesday because of fears of an industry shakeout caused by a regulatory crackdown.

Al Rajhi Bank, the most heavily traded stock, gained 0.8 percent. Bank Aljazira, which had plunged for two days after reviving a plan for a big rights issue, rebounded 1.1 percent.

Qatar’s index edged up 0.1 percent as Qatar National Bank gained 0.6 percent. It posted a net profit of 3.60 billion riyals ($989 million) for the three months to Sept. 30, up 5.6 percent from a year ago. EFG Hermes had forecast 3.46 billion riyals and SICO Bahrain, 3.51 billion.

The earnings partly eased concern about the impact on banks of sanctions imposed on Qatar by other Arab states since June, although smaller banks may not have coped so well with the withdrawal of deposits held by Gulf banks.

Non-Gulf foreign investors were net buyers of Qatari shares by a substantial margin on Thursday, as they have been for several days, bourse data showed. Some stocks have been beaten down so far by worries about the sanctions that dividend yields look attractive.

The Dubai index gained 0.6 percent, although loss-making retail and restaurant investment firm Marka fell 2.9 percent after saying shareholders had approved a plan to continue operations. The company will exit underperforming fashion and sports segments and restructure debt.

Abu Dhabi rose 0.2 percent as National Bank of Ras al Khaimah surged 4.7 percent after obtaining a $350 million syndicated loan, increased from $250 million, for general funding purposes.

Egypt’s index climbed 0.6 percent as Arab Cotton Ginning surged 3.3 percent after announcing a dividend of 0.2 Egyptian pounds per share for holders on Oct. 22.

HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index rose 1.4 percent to 6,988 points.

DUBAI

* The index rose 0.6 percent to 3,660 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index gained 0.2 percent to 4,526 points.

QATAR

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 8,342 points.

EGYPT

* The index climbed 0.6 percent to 13,894 points.

KUWAIT

* The index edged up 0.04 percent to 6,629 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index was flat at 1,275 points.

OMAN

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 5,128 points. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia, editing by Larry King)

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