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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf starts Q2 on weak note, newly merged Abu Dhabi bank outperforms
April 2, 2017 / 1:09 PM / 6 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf starts Q2 on weak note, newly merged Abu Dhabi bank outperforms

* New NBAD, FGB combination to be named First Abu Dhabi Bank

* TAQA limit up, but turnover low

* Saudi’s SIIG falls on facility maintenance

* Qatar, Egypt see lowest volumes in months

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, April 2 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf moved sideways in thin volumes on Sunday, while shares of the newly-formed lender in Abu Dhabi, First Abu Dhabi Bank, outperformed a day after the legal completion of the merger.

Shares of First Abu Dhabi Bank - the new name of the newly merged National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank - rose 1.5 percent. Shares of First Gulf Bank have been delisted.

Shares of Abu Dhabi National Energy (TAQA) soared by the daily limit. A Dubai-based asset manager said turnover of a little under 8 million dirhams ($2.2 million) paled in comparison to the 36 million dirhams turnover from First Abu Dhabi Bank, and suggested only a few investors drove the stock limit up.

On Thursday, TAQA reported a full-year loss of 18.55 billion dirhams ($5.05 billion) for 2016. The net loss was largely fuelled by a 16.9 billion dirham post-tax impairment and because of lower oil prices.

Dubai’s index edged up 0.3 percent, with 19 shares advancing and 11 declining.

The majority of trade was focused on second and third tier stocks, often traded by local day traders. Union Properties , the most traded share, rose 2.8 percent and builder Arabtec added 2.5 percent.

In Saudi Arabia, the share index handed back gains made earlier in the day to edge down 0.2 percent. The number of advancing and declining shares were even at 72.

Saudi Industrial Investment Group lost 3.6 percent after the company said its Saudi Chevron Phillips project would undergo 35 days of maintenance from April 1. The financial impact will be reflected in second quarter results.

Other petrochemical producers’ performances were mixed with five declining and five closing higher. Two closed flat.

The petrochemical sector is expected to see modest growth in earnings in the first quarter of the year, according to analysts, although a divergence in performance among the listed producers is expected.

Analysts at Alrjahi Capital said major polymer products prices remained stable in the first quarter, rising by a low-to-mid single digit percentage, but on the cost front average feedstock prices have also moved sharply higher, which leaves some producers with lower spreads - albeit from very high levels - and puts downward pressure on bottom lines.

The largest producer, Saudi Basic Industries, could see a slight deterioration in its petrochemical segment’s margins, said Alrajhi. SABIC closed flat on Sunday.

Shares of Saudi real-estate developer Jabal Omar added 0.4 percent after the company said one of its Mecca hotels had started operations.

DOHA, EGYPT VERY LOW VOLUME

In Doha, the index added 0.1 percent in the lowest daily traded volume since late January as three-fifths of traded blue-chips advanced. Telecommunications operator Ooredoo was the top performer, adding 2.2 percent.

Egypt’s index fell 0.6 percent in the lowest daily volumes since the flotation of the currency on Nov. 3.

Twenty-two shares declined on Sunday while five advanced. Orascom Telecom shares, often traded by local day traders, fell 2.7 percent.

SUNDAY‘S HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index edged down 0.2 percent to 6,990 points.

DUBAI

* The index added 0.3 percent to 3,491 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 4,450 points.

QATAR

* The index inched up 0.1 percent to 10,398 points.

KUWAIT

* The index fell 0.1 percent to 7,021 points.

EGYPT

* The index lost 0.6 percent to 12,912 points.

OMAN

* The index edged down 0.2 percent to 5,538 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index fell 0.7 percent to 1,346 points. ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

Editing by Mark Potter

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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