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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi post-budget rally stalls, UAE bourses firm
December 26, 2016 / 2:21 PM / 9 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi post-budget rally stalls, UAE bourses firm

* Saudi index retreats from near technical resistance

* Zain Saudi continues rising on tower sale plan

* Dubai’s Shuaa ends lower after buying Bahrain bank stake

* Banks buoy Abu Dhabi index

* Arabia Cotton Ginning continues rise in Egypt

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, Dec 26 (Reuters) - The Saudi Arabian stock market’s post-budget rally ran out of steam on Monday as the index neared technical resistance, while United Arab Emirates bourses outperformed the region.

The Saudi index added 1.5 percent on Sunday in reaction to Riyadh’s modestly expansionary state budget for 2017. But it closed 0.3 percent lower at 7,166 points on Monday in lower trading volume. Technical resistance lies at this year’s peak of 7,235 points, hit earlier this month.

Utility Saudi Electricity, which jumped 8.7 percent on Sunday after the government said in the budget that it would raise domestic fuel and electricity prices by unspecified margins later this year, fell back 2.6 percent.

The petrochemical sector, which had outperformed after the budget plan pledged not to raise gas feedstock prices before 2019, slipped 0.4 percent.

But Zain Saudi, which rose 1.9 percent on Sunday after saying it was in talks to sell its mobile transmitter towers to a consortium of TASC SAL and ACWA Holding, climbed a further 3.0 percent on Monday.

In Dubai, the index rose 0.8 percent as trading volume expanded. Amusement park operator DXB Entertainments gained 3.9 percent.

Shuaa Capital initially rose as much as 2.6 percent after it bought 14 percent of Bahrain’s Khaleeji Commercial Bank, a subsidiary of GFH Financial Group , on Sunday for 9.6 million dinars ($25 million). But Shuaa closed down 1.3 percent.

Retail and hospitality firm Marka, which surged last week after news that its chief executive Nick Peel had resigned, continued pulling back, losing 2.6 percent.

Abu Dhabi rose 0.4 percent on the back of strength in blue-chip banks such as Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, up 1.6 percent.

In Egypt, the index dropped 0.6 percent amid profit-taking in blue chips such as Global Telecom, down 4.0 percent.

But Arabia Cotton Ginning, which climbed 5.9 percent on Sunday after its board approved splitting the company into two separate entities, rose by the same margin again on Monday.

MONDAY‘S HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index dropped 0.3 percent to 7,166 points.

DUBAI

* The index rose 0.8 percent to 3,552 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index gained 0.4 percent to 4,456 points.

QATAR

* The index fell 0.5 percent to 10,344 points.

EGYPT

* The index dropped 0.6 percent to 12,182 points.

KUWAIT

* The index rose 0.3 percent to 5,714 points.

OMAN

* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 5,727 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index fell 0.3 percent to 1,208 points.

Editing by Hugh Lawson

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