February 19, 2019 / 1:43 PM / 6 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai extends rally, Saudi banks hit on profit-taking

    * Dubai property stocks extend gains
    * Saudi's Mobily rises on fourth-quarter profit 
    * Nine of 11 Saudi banks slide
    * Banks also weak in Qatar
    * Telecom Egypt jumps on dividend, deal with Vodafone Egypt

    By Shakeel Ahmad
    Feb 19 (Reuters) - The Dubai stock market extended gains as
it rose for a fifth session on Tuesday, mainly driven by
property stocks after strong fourth-quarter earnings.
    Saudi Arabia's market fell as investors booked profit after
the market gained significantly this year. Banks had led the
rally, then were hit hard, with nine of 11 banks falling. 
    In Dubai, the benchmark index rose 0.6 percent with
the most heavily traded stock, Emaar Properties,
gaining 3.1 percent and its unit Emaar Malls rising
1.9 percent. The stocks have gained in recent sessions after
posting robust fourth-quarter earnings, boosting the index.
    Property firms, which were partly behind the index's poor
performance last year, showed signs of recovery reflected in the
fourth-quarter results and increased construction contracts,
though remained vulnerable to further falls in property prices.
    Rating agency Standard & Poor's said on Tuesday it expects
Dubai residential property prices to fall further in 2019
because of a gap between supply and demand, then stabilise in
2020.
    Saudi Arabia's index fell 0.6 percent with bank
Samba Financial Group dropping 2.2 percent and Riyad
Bank shedding 2.1 percent. 
    The index is still up nearly nine percent this year,
outperforming other major Gulf markets, with foreign investors
leading the rally. Saudi exchange weekly data showed foreigners
were net buyers every week this year. 
    Telecommunications firm Etihad Etisalat (Mobily)
rose 2.5 percent after it posted a fourth-quarter profit which,
it said, was its first profit since the second quarter of 2016.

    Qatar's index was down 0.5 percent. The Middle East's
top lender, Qatar National Bank, fell 1.2 percent and
another bank, Masraf Al Rayan, dropped 1 percent. 
    Qatar, which jumped 21 percent in 2018, was one of the
world's best-performing markets for the year, after limits on
foreign ownership of shares were lifted.
    The index carried last year's performance into January, then
began a downward trend in February, as the impact from higher
ownership limits faded. The index has already lost 6.8 percent
so far this month.
    The Abu Dhabi index edged down 0.1 percent with
heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank slipping 0.3 percent. 
    Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index 0.5
percent, snapping a seven-day winning streak with 18 of its 29
stocks declining. The index had gained 16.3 percent this year as
the Egyptian economy strengthened.
    El Sewedy Electric shed 1.4 percent and the
country's largest lender, Commercial International Bank
, which surged more than 25 percent this year, lost 0.8
percent.
    Telecom Egypt jumped 3.5 percent, however, after
it agreed to provide Vodafone Egypt with transmission
and infrastructure services for 10 years, in a deal valued at
10.85 billion Egyptian pounds ($618.15 million).
    Vodafone Egypt also proposed a dividend payout of 5.5
billion pounds to Telecom Egypt. 
    
 SAUDI       The index         lost 0.6 pct to 8,517 points
 ARABIA      
 DUBAI       The index          rose 0.6 pct to 2,566 points
 ABU DHABI   The index        was down 0.1 pct at 5,035 points
 Qatar       The index        fell 0.5 pct to 9,982 points
 EGYPT       The index          fell 0.5 pct to 15,156 points
 KUWAIT      The index        rose 0.7 pct to 5,461 points
 BAHRAIN     The index        rose 1 pct to 1,393 points
 OMAN        The index        was down 0.4 pct at 4,057 points
 
      

($1 = 17.5525 Egyptian pounds)

 (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru)
  
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