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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges up in volatile trade as oil recovers, Egypt hits record
January 12, 2017 / 2:14 PM / 7 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges up in volatile trade as oil recovers, Egypt hits record

* Saudi index near six-week low

* Banks, petrochemicals rebound

* Dubai soft but ends week with gains

* Abu Dhabi swings, supported by banks

* Arabian Cement continues surge in Egypt

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market edged higher in volatile trade on Thursday but suffered its worst weekly decline since September, while Egypt extended its bull run as international funds accumulated shares.

The Saudi index closed 0.4 percent higher at 6,922 points; it remains near a six-week low and lost 3.8 percent over the week.

Investors bought shares after Brent oil futures rebounded 2.7 percent overnight and traded above $55.50 on Thursday. Eight of the 14 listed petrochemical producers rose with Saudi Arabia Fertilizers climbing 2.5 percent.

But Yanbu National Petrochemical dropped 2.3 percent to 54.00 riyals. On Wednesday, it closed flat after reporting stronger fourth-quarter net income that was in line with analysts' expectations; its gross profit margin declined.

Yansab is trading at a 5 percent premium to analysts' estimated fair value, according to Reuters data.

A little over half of Saudi banks gained, with Al Rajhi Bank , the sector's chief gainer, up 1.2 percent.

Blue chips dragged on Dubai. The main index edged down 0.03 percent but was up 2.6 percent for the week.

Amusement park operator DXB Entertainments dropped 2.3 percent. DAMAC Properties lost 1.5 percent after the developer confirmed that U.S President-elect Donald Trump had declined a $2 billion development deal which DAMAC had proposed over the weekend.

However, some small and mid-sized shares continued to be snapped up; builder Arabtec jumped 6.4 percent and Gulf General Investment climbed 1.3 percent.

"Dubai's strong performance last year helped build confidence in that market and because it is diversified from oil relative to other Gulf economies, investors have been focusing on growth stocks," said Muhammed Shabbir, an independent Dubai-based investment advisor.

Abu Dhabi swung 0.4 percent higher after a weak start. Union National Bank jumped 4.3 percent; it has surged 12.8 percent since the start of the year on speculation it may be the next bank to undergo a merger this year, after National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank , which are set to merge in coming months. NBAD closed flat and FGB added 0.8 percent.

In Egypt, the blue-chip index gained 1.0 percent to yet another all-time high of 13,224 points as foreign funds were net buyers of shares, according to exchange data.

Arabian Cement jumped its 10 percent daily limit for a second consecutive session to 9.06 Egyptian pounds. Analysts believe the company is trading at a discount to its estimated fair value.

Cairo-based Pharos have placed an "overweight" rating on the stock with a fair value of 11.5 pounds, citing a rebalancing in local cement supply, healthy demand growth outlook and higher sales prices.

THURSDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index added 0.4 percent to 6,922 points.

DUBAI

* The index edged down 0.03 percent to 3,721 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index rose 0.4 percent to 4,681 points.

QATAR

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 10,709 points.

EGYPT

* The index rose 1.0 percent to 13,224 points.

KUWAIT

* The index rose 1.3 percent to 6,108 points.

OMAN

* The index fell 0.6 percent to 5,762 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index edged up 0.2 percent to 1,212 points.

Editing by Andrew Torchia, Larry King

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