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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gradual tax plan boosts Egypt, ex-dividend shares hit Dubai
March 2, 2017 / 2:08 PM / 7 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gradual tax plan boosts Egypt, ex-dividend shares hit Dubai

* Egyptian authorities trying to limit impact of tax

* Dubai Islamic Bank, GFH tumble as they go ex-dividend

* Arabtec soft after it presents recovery plan

* Saudi’s Al Tayyar jumps before denying Indonesia deal reports

* Qatar’s Aamal falls; FTSE weight to rise only slightly

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, March 2 (Reuters) - Egypt’s stock market rose sharply on Thursday after the finance minister said he would propose only a gradual introduction of a stamp duty on transactions, while stocks going ex-dividend dragged down Dubai.

The Egyptian index climbed 2.6 percent as blue chip Global Telecom jumped 7.6 percent.

Amr al-Garhy told Reuters on Wednesday that he would propose a duty starting at 1.25 Egyptian pounds ($0.08) per 1,000 to the government next week, rising to 1.5 pounds in the second year of implementation and 1.75 pounds in the third.

“We are working on not affecting the size or value of transactions in the market,” Garhy said.

Shares in real estate developer Talaat Mostafa rose 3.5 percent after it reported an annual net profit of 826 million Egyptian pounds, with revenues rising to 6.55 billion pounds from 6.18 billion pounds in the previous year.

Dubai’s index sank 1.0 percent. Dubai Islamic Bank plunged 9.3 percent and GFH Financial slid 11.0 percent; both stocks went ex-dividend on Thursday. The scope of the falls was larger than normal for ex-dividend stocks and suggested a lack of institutional buying support.

However, rising stocks in Dubai outnumbered falling ones by 18 to 13.

Builder Arabtec, which in mid-February posted a net loss of about 2.95 billion dirhams ($803 million), fell 0.3 percent after releasing a presentation outlining a three-phase recovery plan. It predicted stabilisation of its business in 2017, preparation for expansion in 2018, and growth in 2019.

Abu Dhabi’s index climbed 0.6 percent on the back of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, which added 4.1 percent.

The Saudi Arabian index gained 0.7 percent as real estate investment trusts, the focus of massive activity by day traders in the past week, jumped again. Riyad REIT, the most heavily traded stock, added 4.6 percent.

Najran Cement fell 0.8 percent after saying it was temporarily halting one of its production lines with output capacity of 3,000 tonnes per day because of low demand and high inventory build-up.

Al Tayyar Travel soared 9.3 percent before being suspended in the afternoon at the company’s request pending the announcement of a “material development”.

After the close, Al Tayyar denied local media reports that it had signed 5 billion riyals ($1.3 billion) worth of deals with Indonesian agencies to bring Islamic pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. However, it said it was represented in a Saudi business delegation now visiting Indonesia with King Salman, and that it would announce any further developments in due course.

Qatar’s index fell 0.3 percent. Aamal dropped 2.6 percent after index compiler FTSE Russell released details of the second half of Qatar’s transition to Secondary Emerging Market status, which will occur on March 19.

The weights of most Qatari stocks in FTSE’s index will double, which Arqaam Capital calculates will bring passive fund inflows of about $345 million. But Aamal’s weight will only increase to 28 percent from 20 percent because of the company’s shareholding limits, FTSE said.

THURSDAY‘S HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index rose 0.7 percent to 7,107 points.

DUBAI

* The index fell 1.0 percent to 3,584 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index rose 0.6 percent to 4,596 points.

QATAR

* The index fell 0.3 percent to 10,721 points.

KUWAIT

* The index gained 0.4 percent to 6,767 points.

EGYPT

* The index jumped 2.6 percent to 12,310 points.

OMAN

* The index rose 0.4 percent to 5,815 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index slipped 0.2 percent to 1,342 points.

Editing by Keith Weir

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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