* Saudi banks underperform
* Much activity focuses on second-, third-tier stocks
* Travel agency Al Tayyar surges
* Two Oman telecommunications firms tumble
* Other Gulf markets closed for New Year
By Andrew Torchia
DUBAI, Jan 1 Saudi Arabia's stock market rose on
Sunday with much activity focusing on second- and third-tier
stocks rather than blue chips, while Oman's bourse was dragged
down by a higher tax on telecommunications companies.
The main Saudi index added 0.4 percent. Banking
stocks were soft but major gains were seen in a few stocks such
as conglomerate Jazan Development, which jumped 5.4
percent after announcing a 0.50 riyal per share dividend for
Saudi Automotive Services surged its 10 percent
daily limit after saying it would post a special gain of 4.4
million riyals ($1.2 million) for the fourth quarter after
selling two of its equities investment portfolios.
Travel agency Al Tayyar, beaten down last year by
the slump in Saudi consumer spending, climbed 7.4 percent in
unusually heavy trade.
Nama Chemicals plunged its 10 percent daily
limit for a second straight day. It resumed trading last week
after its shares were suspended for a day because its
accumulated losses had reached more than 75 percent of its
capital. The company now plans a capital reduction.
In Oman, the stock index dropped 0.7 percent as Oman
Telecommunications tumbled 4.3 percent and rival
Ooredoo Oman sank 7.9 percent.
On Thursday, the Capital Market Authority said Oman's
telecommunications companies would pay a royalty to the
government of 12 percent of revenues in 2017, up from 7 percent.
Other markets in the Gulf, as well as Cairo's exchange, were
closed for New Year holidays.
* The index added 0.4 percent to 7,238 points.
* The index fell 0.7 percent to 5,745 points.
(Editing by Adrian Croft)