DUBAI, March 15 Most Gulf stock markets edged up
in early trade on Wednesday ahead of an expected U.S. interest
rate hike later in the day, though concern that U.S. monetary
authorities could signal further hikes down the road kept
trading volume moderate.
Saudi Arabia's index climbed 0.4 percent with most
banks rising after credit rating agency Moody's raised its
outlook for the Saudi banking system to "stable" from
"negative", predicting liquidity and funding conditions would
Al Jazira Bank gained 1.4 percent and electronics
retailer United Electronics jumped 5.3 percent.
Petrochemical firm Yansab fell 1.8 percent as it went
In Dubai, the index rose 0.1 percent as Shuaa
Capital added 2.2 percent and GFH Financial
was flat. Late on Tuesday, GFH confirmed that it was in talks on
a possible merger with Shuaa, although Shuaa has still not
issued any statement.
District cooling firm Tabreed fell 2.1 percent as
it went ex-dividend.
In Bahrain, Khaleeji Commercial Bank surged 4.5
percent in very thin trade after it said its annual general
meeting had approved a listing of the bank on Dubai's stock
market, which could dramatically improve liquidity in the shares
while benefiting shareholders including GFH and Shuaa.
GFH has previously declared its intention to list Khaleeji
Commercial, and Wednesday's statement did not give a time frame.
It said GFH would raise its stake in the bank to 55.38 percent
from 46.97 percent by acquiring shares owned by Emirates Islamic
Qatar's index edged down 0.1 percent as Mazaya Qatar
Real Estate Development sank 4.5 percent after saying
annual net profit fell to 74.6 million riyals ($20.5 million)
from 112.7 million riyals in the previous year.
(Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Hugh Lawson)