June 19, 2017 / 8:20 AM / 2 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai's Tabreed surges on Engie investment, MSCI hopes keeps Saudi afloat

DUBAI, June 19 (Reuters) - Most stock markets in the Gulf were marginally higher in early trade on Monday, shrugging off weak oil prices as investors focused on local corporate and market news.

Shares of Dubai's National Central Cooling Co (Tabreed) surged their 15 percent daily limit to 2.12 dirhams ($0.58) after French power and gas group Engie SA agreed to buy 40 percent stake for 2.8 billion dirhams from majority owner Abu Dhabi's Mubadala.

Mubadala will convert its mandatory convertible bonds into shares, with 1.086 billion shares to be transferred to Engie at approximately 2.62 dirhams each.

Mubadala will keep a 42 percent stake after the transaction has been approved by the regulators.

Shares in builder Drake & Scull climbed 2.1 percent after the company's acting chief financial officer told reporters on Sunday that the company has not been affected by Qatar's diplomatic rift with some of its Gulf neighbours, although DSI was not bidding for new business in that country.

DSI expects to complete a plan to reduce its capital by 75 percent by the end of the third quarter, deferring the process by one month, its chief executive said.

The Dubai index was up 0.5 percent.

Blue chips in Saudi Arabia helped support that benchmark which was up 0.2 percent after 25 minutes of trade. Ethylene and propylene producer Yanbu National Petrochemical was up 0.7 percent at 55.90 riyals ($14.91); HSBC raised the target price to 54.0 riyals and kept its "hold" rating.

Shares of Arab National Bank rose 2.0 percent after the board proposed a cash dividend of 0.55 riyal for the first half of 2017; this is higher than the 0.45 riyal paid in the prior year period. According to analysts at NBC Capital, the dividend yield will be 5.0 percent.

Shares of some companies expected to benefit from the MSCI decision to put Saudi Arabia on review for an upgrade to its emerging market group, were resilient. Dairy producer Almarai rose 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, Qatar's index lost 1.0 percent as the largest petrochemical producer, Industries Qatar, dropped 2.0 percent as Brent contracts fell to $47.26 a barrel.

The index has weakened since the start of the month when four Arab states cut diplomatic and travel links with Doha. ($1 = 3.7502 riyals) (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Saeed Azhar and Louise Heavens)

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