October 21, 2018 / 1:43 PM / 2 years ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks close up slightly after account of Khashoggi death

* Saudi stocks rebound after early sell-off

* Market boosted by buying from state-linked funds

* Foreigners sell net $1.1 bln in week ended Oct. 18

* Egypt market hit by delay in IPO programme

By Tom Arnold

DUBAI, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s stock market survived an early sell-off to close in positive territory on Sunday after the kingdom said Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi died in a fight at its consulate in Istanbul.

The Saudi index closed up 0.2 percent after falling as much as 3.5 percent earlier in the session. Analysts said the market was likely supported by buying from state-linked Saudi funds.

U.S. and European government officials on Sunday continued to push Saudi Arabia for more answers about Jamal Khashoggi after Riyadh early on Saturday acknowledged that the journalist died more than two weeks ago at the consulate.

“There is still a layer of investor uncertainty around the reaction from different world leaders that is encouraging the mixed performance in the Saudi index,” said Jameel Ahmad, global head of currency strategy and market research at FXTM.

In one of the biggest sell-offs since the market opened to direct foreign buying in mid-2015, foreigners sold a net 4.01 billion riyals ($1.07 billion) of Saudi stocks in the week ending Oct. 18, data released by the Saudi Stock Exchange showed on Sunday.

Saudi’s stock market has fallen around 4 percent since Oct. 2 because of concerns the Khashoggi case could trigger U.S. sanctions against Riyadh and shrink inflows of foreign investment.

Saudi Industrial Services Co slumped the most on Sunday, with its stock falling 6.1 percent.

Elsewhere in the region, Egypt’s blue-chip index fell 0.9 percent after the government signalled a delay to its public share sale programme.

The government said on Friday it would postpone a planned offering of 4.5 percent of tobacco producer Eastern Co , the first of several share sales including initial public offerings that were expected before the year-end.

The Dubai index slumped 0.8 percent, with Dubai Islamic Bank falling 1.9 percent and market bellwether Emaar Properties dropping 0.8 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, First Abu Dhabi Bank slipped 1.4 percent, while Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat) dipped 0.6 percent. Abu Dhabi’s main index closed down 0.9 percent.

In Qatar, Qatar Islamic Bank closed down 1.1 percent, while Qatar Electricity and Water slipped 1.5 percent after the company on Thursday reported a slight drop in nine-month net profit to 1.16 billion riyals. The index finished 0.4 percent down.

SAUDI ARABIA * The index added 0.2 percent to 7,660 points. DUBAI * The index lost 0.8 percent to 2,735 points. ABU DHABI * The index lost 0.9 percent to 4,943 points. QATAR * The index fell 0.4 percent to 10,154 points. KUWAIT * The index lost 0.1 percent to 5,169 points. BAHRAIN * The index fell 0.1 percent to 1,322 points. OMAN * The index shed 0.2 percent to 4,453 points. EGYPT * The index fell 0.9 percent to 13,525 points. (Additional reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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