March 8, 2017 / 1:26 PM / 6 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai outperforms in weak Gulf; Egypt climbs

* Dubai index bounces from 10-week low

* But gainers only marginally out number losers

* Qatar’s Doha Bank continues steep slide

* Banque Saudi Fransi outperforms after stake offer news

* Egypt’s El Sewedy surges on electricity plant news

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, March 8 (Reuters) - Most Gulf stock markets were weak on Wednesday as another slide in Doha Bank pulled down Qatar, but Dubai rose on the back of gains in a few stocks.

The Dubai index climbed 0.8 percent, bouncing from a 10-week low, although gaining stocks only marginally outnumbered losers by 15 to 14. The index has closed lower in six of the last eight sessions.

Shares in courier Aramex added 7.0 percent and theme park operator DXB Entertainments, the most heavily traded stock, jumped 6.1 percent.

“This is all about momentum trading and short-term technical signals, in lieu of fundamental changes,” said a Dubai-based trader.

The Dubai-listed shares of Bahrain’s GFH Financial Group , which went ex-dividend at the end of last week, rose 3.7 percent after Bahrain’s central bank rejected the company’s recommendation to increase the dividend for 2016 to 12 percent; the investment firm will distribute 10 percent instead. Its less liquid Bahrain-listed shares fell 0.8 percent.

Abu Dhabi’s index, which traded higher for most of the session, closed flat. Union National Bank added 1.2 percent but First Gulf Bank fell 0.7 percent.

In Qatar, the index was dragged 0.5 percent lower as Doha Bank slumped 8.8 percent to 32.0 riyals. It had dropped its 10 percent daily limit on Tuesday after it went ex-dividend and shareholders approved a 20 percent capital increase through the issue of new shares at 25 riyals each.

Telecommunications operators were also weak; Ooredoo lost 4.4 percent and Vodafone Qatar fell 1.3 percent. The Qatari index is down 0.6 percent year-to-date.

Saudi Arabia’s index edged down 0.3 percent with sell orders accelerating in the final hour. The index has been trading in a very narrow range over the last week.

The largest Islamic retail bank, Al Rajhi, lost 1.2 percent. But Banque Saudi Fransi added 0.2 percent after Reuters reported, citing sources, that French bank Credit Agricole had picked JPMorgan to help in a potential sale of its 31 percent stake in the Saudi lender, valued at nearly $2.4 billion.

Egypt’s index rose 0.5 percent as El Sewedy Electric rose 4.1 percent after saying it was in preliminary talks with Egyptian Electricity Transmission Co to build two electricity distribution plants.

Separately, the company said it still had not signed a loan deal to build a solar plant in Aswan, denying local media reports it had secured a $75 million loan from International Finance Corp. The company said it was talking with several potential lenders but a final decision had not been made.

Egyptian Iron & Steel jumped 8.8 percent in active trade.

WEDNESDAY‘S HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index fell 0.3 percent to 6,971 points.

DUBAI

* The index rose 0.8 percent to 3,531 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index edged down 0.02 percent to 4,591 points.

QATAR

* The index fell 0.5 percent to 10,361 points.

KUWAIT

* The index dropped 0.2 percent to 6,652 points.

EGYPT

* The index rose 0.5 percent to 12,736 points.

OMAN

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 5,801 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index rose 0.3 percent to 1,337 points.

Editing by Andrew Torchia

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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