August 10, 2017 / 8:04 AM / 10 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Zain surges on Omantel move, TAQA down after earnings

DUBAI, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Gulf stock indexes moved little in early trade on Thursday, continuing a two-week-old trend, with Kuwaiti telecommunications firm Zain a standout gainer in response to an investment by Omantel.

The Kuwaiti index edged down 0.2 percent but Zain climbed 6.7 percent in heavy trade after signing a deal to sell 425.7 million treasury shares, equivalent to 9.84 percent of the company, to Omantel for $846 million.

The purchase, subject to regulatory approval, was announced days before Oman is to shortlist qualified applicants for a third mobile licence, for which Zain has bid. Omantel, which is making the investment to diversify beyond its small home market, was flat.

Dubai’s index edged up 0.1 percent as amusement park operator DXB Entertainments, which had dropped 2.5 percent to 0.815 dirham on Wednesday in response to poor first-half earnings, rebounded 0.7 percent.

In a research note, Arqaam Capital kept a “hold” rating on the stock with a 0.84 dirham target, saying a plan to re-organise the company’s business could help to shrink losses.

Abu Dhabi’s index was flat as Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) dropped 3.9 percent after reporting a small profit in the three months to June.

The Saudi Arabian index edged up 0.2 percent as Al Rajhi bank gained 1.1 percent to 63.70 riyals. Saudi Printing and Packaging surged 4.4 percent to 23.38 riyals and was the most heavily traded stock after rising on Wednesday above technical resistance on its December peak of 21.85 riyals.

Arabian Cement fell 1.3 percent after reporting a sharp drop in second-quarter net profit that missed average analyst forecasts.

Qatar’s index dropped 0.6 percent as the biggest bank, Qatar National Bank, lost 0.7 percent. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia; editing by John Stonestreet)

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