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MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets rise, Amanat dominates Dubai trading
May 1, 2017 / 1:21 PM / 4 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets rise, Amanat dominates Dubai trading

* Dubai's Aramex falls after Q1 earnings miss

* Union Properties volatile in tussle over board membership

* Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank rises on Q1 earnings beat

* Saudi's Fawaz Abulaziz Alhokair surges on new CEO

* Strong Q1 earnings boost Qatar's Ezdan Holding

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, May 1 (Reuters) - Most Gulf stock markets rose on Monday, with shares in healthcare and education investment company Amanat Holdings accounting for more than 40 percent of Dubai's market volume with a 4.5 percent rise.

The Dubai index rose 0.8 percent with Amanat, the most active stock, seeing its heaviest trade since November. The low-priced stock, which is sometimes the target of short-term speculation, will go ex-dividend on May 4.

Shares in Aramex lost 1.5 percent after the courier reported a 5 percent fall in quarterly profit due to a rise in provisions related to its incentive scheme. Profit was 91.8 million dirhams; EFG Hermes and SICO Bahrain had forecast 109.1 million dirhams and 105.6 million dirhams.

But Union Properties closed 3.9 percent higher, with a tussle over membership of the company's board resulting in volatile trading.

The company said on Sunday that chairman Khalid Jassim bin Kalban and other directors had been replaced after stepping down, in the wake of a shareholder vote to ban board members from holding positions at competitors; bin Kalban is managing director at Dubai Investments.

But Union Properties then released a statement quoting the securities regulator as saying bin Kalban and the other directors denied they had resigned. The company did not explain the contradiction with its earlier statements.

Dubai Investments, which has a joint venture with Union Properties, closed flat.

In Abu Dhabi, the index gained 0.8 percent as Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank added 1.5 percent. It posted an 8 percent rise in first-quarter profit to 1.11 billion dirhams; analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast 995.4 million dirhams.

Arkan Building Materials surged 3.0 percent after the al-Bayan newspaper quoted chairman Jamal Salem al-Dhaheri as saying it was studying a merger with other companies, which he did not name.

The Saudi Arabian index edged down 0.1 percent as Saudi Kayan Petrochemical, which had soared to its 10 percent daily limit on Sunday after reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings, fell back 4.1 percent.

Top petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries gained 1.0 percent, however; it was expected to release earnings after the close. Saudi Industrial Development, another producer, rose 0.4 percent after saying it had swung to a small net profit from a year-earlier loss.

Retailer Fawaz Abulaziz Alhokair climbed 3.1 percent to 36.70 riyals after it appointed a new chief executive, veteran Coca-Cola executive Atul Singh. Also, EFG Hermes raised its rating of the stock to "buy" from "neutral", lifting its price target to 44 riyals from 27.

Qatar's index rose 0.5 percent as real estate firm Ezdan Holding jumped 6.0 percent after reporting a 62 percent surge in first-quarter net profit.

Petrochemical and metals producer Industries Qatar dropped 1.3 percent, however.

Markets in Egypt and Bahrain were closed for public holidays.

MONDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 7,004 points.

DUBAI

* The index rose 0.8 percent to 3,441 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index gained 0.8 percent to 4,558 points.

QATAR

* The index climbed 0.5 percent to 10,110 points.

KUWAIT

* The index fell 0.7 percent to 6,793 points.

OMAN

* The index rose 0.3 percent to 5,529 points.

Editing by Alexander Smith

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