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MIDEAST STOCKS-Petchems, Saudi Telecom beat lift Riyadh; rest of Gulf sluggish
October 29, 2017 / 1:39 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Petchems, Saudi Telecom beat lift Riyadh; rest of Gulf sluggish

* Petchems boosted by oil’s surge late last week

* FTSE Russell launches stand-alone Saudi Arabia indexes

* Qatar Gas Transport surges on higher oil prices

* Qatar First Bank hit by widening loss

* Kuwwait’s Zain sinks after quarterly profit drops

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Petrochemical stocks and an earnings beat by Saudi Telecom Co lifted Riyadh’s stock market on Sunday while other Gulf bourses were sluggish, once more ignoring a strong performance by Wall Street on the previous trading day.

The Saudi stock index climbed 0.7 percent. Unusually, four of the 10 most active stocks were petrochemical producers after oil prices rose sharply at the end of last week, with Brent crude hitting $60 a barrel for the first time since 2015; industry leader Saudi Basic Industries gained 0.8 percent.

Saudi Telecom climbed 3.6 percent after reporting an 18.2 percent rise in third-quarter net profit to 2.62 billion riyals ($698.7 million), topping the 2.28 billion forecast of four analysts polled by Reuters. But the increase was mostly due to cost-cutting; revenue from services fell 8.5 percent to 12.84 billion riyals.

Another piece of positive news was an announcement by global equity index compiler FTSE Russell that it had launched stand-alone Saudi Arabia indexes, in anticipation of Riyadh meeting requirements in early 2018 to join FTSE’s secondary emerging market index.

National Commercial Bank, the biggest listed lender and one which would attract sizeable fund inflows due to inclusion in the emerging market index, rose 1.8 percent.

The Dubai index fell 0.3 percent in a broad-based decline, with eight of the 10 most active stocks dropping and none rising.

Qatar’s index edged up 0.1 percent as Mesaieed Petrochemical gained 1.0 percent on the back of stronger oil prices. Qatar Gas Transport, which would also benefit from higher prices in the oil and gas industry, surged 3.2 percent.

But Qatar First Bank sank 3.3 percent after reporting that its nine-month net loss widened to 139.6 million riyals ($28.4 million) from a loss of 76.7 million riyals in the first half of this year.

In Kuwait, telecommunications firm Zain fell 3.3 percent after it reported net income fell 7 percent from a year ago in the third quarter, in line with analysts’ forecasts. The Kuwaiti stock index fell 0.2 percent.

Egypt’s index added 0.5 percent as blue chip Global Telecom surged 4.1 percent. Egypt Aluminum rose 0.7 percent after the company reported a leap in quarterly net profit to 712.4 million Egyptian pounds ($40.5 million) from ‍28.8​ million pounds a year earlier, as sales more than doubled.

HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index rose 0.7 percent to 6,956 points.

DUBAI

* The index fell 0.3 percent to 3,640 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 4,463 points.

QATAR

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 8,134 points.

EGYPT

* The index gained 0.5 percent to 14,024 points.

KUWAIT

* The index dropped 0.2 percent to 6,608 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 1,277 points.

OMAN

* The index rose 0.2 percent to 4,967 points. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia, editing by Larry King)

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