* REITs, Al Rajhi strong in Saudi
* Wafa rebounds after central bank approval to sell policies
* Property developers support Dubai
* Blue chips buoyant in Abu Dhabi
* Egypt is worst performer in region
By Celine Aswad
DUBAI, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Middle East were mixed on Wednesday with Saudi Arabia finding support from smaller companies while property developers were strong in Dubai.
The Riyadh index edged up 0.1 percent. Nine-tenths of the top 20 gainers were small to mid-sized stocks including Saudi Indian Co for Cooperative Insurance (Wafa), which added 1.6 percent after saying it had received “temporary and conditional” approval from the central bank to sell some of its professional liability insurance policies.
Shares of Wafa had suffered heavy losses since Sunday when the company, along with three other insurers, was slapped by the central bank with a temporary ban on selling motor vehicle policies because of irregular practices.
Al Maather REIT, which listed on Tuesday, surged its 10 percent daily limit for a second straight day, while Al Jazira Mawten REIT gained 3.3 percent. Real estate investment trusts have been heavily traded this week as local investors have been lured by the sudden surge in activity.
“The trend is your friend - retail investors are just piling into shares because of headline news, as there is a lack of news in any other sector,” said a Jeddah-based broker.
Al Rajhi added 1.7 percent to 66.90 riyals. The stock is up almost 8 percent since the start of the month; it has an average fair value of 70.32 riyals with an expected dividend yield of 4.17 percent in 2017 and 4.60 percent for 2018, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Property developers helped lift Dubai’s index 0.4 percent; heavyweight Emaar Properties added 1.2 percent and DAMAC Properties added 0.5 percent.
In Abu Dhabi, the index edged up 0.3 percent in very thin trade as three of the five most valuable companies rose; developer Aldar Properties advanced 0.9 percent.
Qatar’s index edged down 0.1 percent as most banking shares declined; Commercial Bank fell 1.6 percent to 29.90 riyals.
Egypt’s index lost 0.9 percent to 12,996 points, making it the worst performer in the region. All but one of the 30 most valuable shares fell, with investment bank EFG Hermes dropping 2.1 percent to a fresh closing low for this year.
U.S. sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday that Washington had decided to deny Egypt $95.7 million in aid and to delay a further $195 million because of its failure to make progress on respecting human rights and democratic norms.
The Egyptian index has been technically bearish since last week, when breaks below its July low of 13,261 points and its 100-day average triggered a head and shoulders pattern formed by the highs and lows since June, which points down to about 12,650 points.
* The index rose 0.1 percent to 7,264 points.
* The index added 0.4 percent to 3,625 points.
* The index increased 0.3 percent to 4,487 points.
* The index lost 0.1 percent to 9,054 points.
* The index fell 0.9 percent to 12,996 points.
* The index declined 0.1 percent at 6,922 points.
* The index fell 0.2 percent to 1,305 points.
* The index lost 0.3 percent to 4,955 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia and Mark Potter)