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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed, insurers help Saudi Arabia
October 17, 2017 / 2:18 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed, insurers help Saudi Arabia

* Saudi’s Malath leaps after rights trading ends

* Petrochemical stocks mixed

* Abu Dhabi’s Dana keeps sinking after sukuk trial delay

* Qatar’s Masraf al Rayan flat despite beating estimates

* Real estate developer Barwa drags down Qatar index

By Aziz El Yaakoubi

DUBAI, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets were mixed despite strong oil prices on Tuesday while Saudi Arabia’s insurance sector continued to recover from last week’s losses.

The main Saudi index inched up 0.2 percent. In the insurance sector, which sank last week on expectations for a shakeout in the sector caused by tougher regulation, Malath Insurance surged 9.9 percent after the trading period for its rights issue ended, while Metlife AIG ANB jumped 3.6 percent.

Banks were mixed. Alinma Bank, which had risen 2.3 percent on Monday after it reported better-than-expected earnings, fell back 0.3 percent. But Riyad Bank edged up 0.8 percent while Alawwal Bank gained 2.1 percent.

Among petrochemical stocks, PetroRabigh added another 1.4 percent after rising 2.1 percent on Monday, but industry leader Saudi Basic Industries was marginally lower.

In Qatar, major bank Masraf al Rayan was almost flat after its third-quarter profit beat estimates. It reported a 6.5 percent increase in net profit to 542 million riyals ($149 million); EFG Hermes had forecast 502 million riyals and QNB Financial Services, 508 million riyals.

Qatar National Bank fell 0.5 percent, ending a six-day winning streak after it reported solid third-quarter earnings last week. Real estate developer Barwa, which has yet to report earnings, sank 3.3 percent, and as a result, Qatar’s stock index fell 0.9 percent.

“The region is dominated by retail investors, and they will tend to wait for more corporate results to decide” whether to buy stocks, said Talal Samhouri, head of asset management at Amwal LLC in Doha. “Even the volumes are not huge these days.”

Dubai’s index edged down 0.4 percent as Emaar Properties fell 0.6 percent.

Abu Dhabi lost 0.8 percent as Dana Gas extended losses and fell a further 2.7 percent. It has been sliding since a London court adjourned hearings last week on its attempt to avoid redeeming $700 million of maturing sukuk.

Egypt’s main index closed flat after dropping almost 3 percent on Monday on a weak banking sector. Commercial International Bank dropped a further 1.3 percent.

HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index edged up 0.2 percent to 6,992 points.

DUBAI

* The index dropped 0.4 percent to 3,643 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index fell 0.8 percent to 4,489 points.

QATAR

* The index lost 0.9 percent to 8,229 points.

EGYPT

* The index was flat at 13,525 points.

KUWAIT

* The index rose 0.2 percent to 6,648 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index inched up 0.4 percent to 1,283 points.

OMAN

* The index slipped 0.1 percent to 5,089 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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