* High volumes in Abu Dhabi sign of positive sentiment
* Newly merged lender share soar 10.7 pct since official
* Dubai up for sixth consecutive session
* Oil over $54.5 boosts petrochemical shares in Saudi
* CIB buoys Egypt, but other shares fall on profit taking
By Celine Aswad
DUBAI, April 5 Stock markets in the Middle East
firmed on Wednesday with Abu Dhabi outperforming its peers for a
second day as institutional investors targeted blue chips, while
crude oil near a one month high boosted Saudi Arabia.
Abu Dhabi's index climbed 2.0 percent on the back of
a 4.1 percent jump in shares of newly merged lender First Abu
Dhabi Bank. It has now soared by 10.7 percent since
Sunday, when the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank
tie up became official in very high volumes.
Farid Samji, head of asset management at Dubai-based Daman
Investment, attributed the exceptionally high volumes to the
inflow from the change of weighting in the emerging market
indexes, including the MSCI Emerging Market index and the FTSE
secondary emerging market index.
"But that alone does not explain the spike in turnover, the
other factor is that people are taking a positive view on the
stock because of the synergies post the merger and those who
sold ahead of the combination are now returning to buy," Samji
The positive mood spilled into other blue chips lenders. Abu
Dhabi Commercial Bank climbed 1.3 percent in above one
month average daily volume.
"Volumes give a sense of optimism," said Samji.
In neighbouring Dubai, the index rose 0.4 percent,
it sixth consecutive session of gains, as most blue chips
outperformed their smaller peers. Emaar Properties
climbed 0.9 percent, but a 4.5 percent slump in Emirates
Integrated Telecommunication (du) restrained gains as
its shares went ex-dividend on Wednesday.
In Saudi Arabia, all but one of the 13 listed petrochemical
producers rose, helping lift the index 0.9 percent
higher. Yanbu National Petrochemical jumped 3.5
Shares of electronics retailer United Electronics,
the first company to report first quarter results, jumped 7.4
percent after the company swung to a net profit of 12.9 million
riyals ($3.44 million), compared to a loss of 45.9 million
riyals in the prior year period.
The company estimated total sales for the first quarter to
have increased 8.3 percent to 805 million riyals compared to
the same period last year.
Egypt's index closed 0.2 percent higher at 13,290
points, but 117 points off its intra-day high. The only share on
that index that closed higher was Commercial International Bank
, which added 0.9 percent.
Most other shares wiped out gains from earlier in the day.
Investment firm EFG Hermes closed down 1.5 percent to
25.59 Egyptian pounds ($1.42), after hitting a session high of
* The index rose 0.9 percent to 7,051 points.
* The index added 0.4 percent to 3,573 points.
* The index jumped 2.0 percent to 4,641 points.
* The index rose 0.7 percent to 10,467 points.
* The index added 0.6 percent to 7,060 points.
* The index edged up 0.2 percent to 13,290 points.
* The index edged up 0.2 percent to 1,351 points.
($1 = 3.7502 riyals)
($1 = 18.0300 Egyptian pounds)
(Editing by Jon Boyle)