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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar continues rally near pre-crisis level, SABIC boosts Saudi
July 20, 2017 / 2:13 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar continues rally near pre-crisis level, SABIC boosts Saudi

* Bank earnings, macro data show Qatar economy resilient

* Morgan Stanley raises view of Saudi Basic Industries

* Alinma Bank continues rising after earnings beat

* Amlak, Shuaa Capital soar in Dubai

* Egypt's Ezz Steel slides for third day after poor earnings

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, July 20 (Reuters) - Qatar's stock market continued rebounding on Thursday from lows hit after its diplomatic rift with neighbouring Arab states, while strength in top petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries buoyed Saudi Arabia.

The Qatari index rose 0.4 percent to 9,542 points. It had closed at 9,924 points on June 4, just before the crisis erupted, and has rebounded more than 10 percent from its low at the start of July.

Doha Bank gained 2.0 percent after reporting its first-half net profit rose to 716‍​ million riyals ($197 million) from 708 million riyals year ago, as operating income gained 4.8 percent.

Drilling rig provider Gulf International Services added 3.5 percent and telecommunications company Ooredoo surged 2.8 percent.

Marine logistics firm Qatar Navigation pulled back 5.2 percent. It was one of the first stocks to rebound after the crisis began on hopes that it would profit as Qatar reorganised shipment routes for its imports, and it rose above its pre-crisis level. But the stock has stalled in the past couple of weeks as funds have returned to other Qatari stocks.

Quarterly bank earnings and macroeconomic data in recent days have indicated the impact of the crisis on Qatar's economy so far is not as bad as some had feared. Exchange data in recent days has shown non-Arab foreign investors as net buyers of stocks, with Gulf investors continuing to cut holdings in Qatar.

A Reuters poll of economists, published on Thursday, showed them cutting their median gross domestic product growth forecast for Qatar this year and next only slightly in response to the crisis - and they still expect Qatar to be one of the fastest-growing economies in the Gulf.

Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia's index rose 0.4 percent as Saudi Basic Industries climbed 1.1 percent to 99.90 riyals. Morgan Stanley raised the stock to overweight from equal-weight and lifted its price target to 122 riyals from 86 riyals.

Alinma Bank, the most heavily traded stock, stayed strong after Wednesday's better-than-expected quarterly earnings, adding a further 3.7 percent.

Tihama Advertising jumped 5.8 percent after announcing the sale of its entire stake in Ad Art Median Co for 4 million riyals ($1.1 million).

Dubai's index edged down 0.2 percent as Amlak Finance soared 14.3 percent and was the most heavily traded stock after real estate developer DAMAC said it was partnering with Amlak to sell second homes to customers. DAMAC fell 2.0 percent.

Shuaa Capital soared its 15 percent daily limit after saying it had executed an agreement to acquire Integrated Capital and Integrated Securities, pending final regulatory approvals.

Egypt's blue-chip index edged up 0.1 percent as Commercial International Bank, the biggest lender, added 0.2 percent. It reported second-quarter consolidated net profit after minority interests of 1.83 billion Egyptian pounds ($102 million) versus 1.46 billion pounds a year ago, with consolidated revenue surging to a record 3.55 billion pounds.

But Ezz Steel fell sharply for a third straight day after reporting poor quarterly earnings this week; it dropped 3.9 percent to a four-month low.

HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index rose 0.4 percent to 7,261 points.

DUBAI

* The index fell 0.2 percent to 3,574 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index dropped 0.9 percent to 4,552 points.

QATAR

* The index rose 0.4 percent to 9,542 points.

EGYPT

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 13,715 points.

KUWAIT

* The index fell 0.2 percent to 6,781 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 1,320 points.

OMAN

* The index dropped 0.9 percent to 4,999 points. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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