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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia flat, Emaar lifts Dubai market
October 24, 2017 / 1:55 PM / in 25 days

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia flat, Emaar lifts Dubai market

* Saudi banks recover after heavy losses

* National Commercial Bank rebounds 2.6 percent

* However most of Saudi insurers fall

* Oil prices help petrochemical shares

* Dubai rebounds on Emaar, DSI

By Aziz El Yaakoubi

DUBAI, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s stock market ignored a huge investment conference in Riyadh and remained flat while Emaar Properties and contractor Drake & Scull helped Dubai to rebound on Tuesday.

The market barely reacted to bullish news from a major investment conference in the kingdom, which attracted hundreds of bankers, businessmen and government officials from around the world.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old architect of reforms designed to end Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil exports, announced a $500 billion plan to build a business and industrial zone that would extend into Jordan and Egypt.

The Saudi main index lost one point after the closing to 6,885 points, extending this week’s losses as the market was split between losers and gainers.

Saudi banks recovered from Monday’s losses with National Commercial Bank (NCB), the kingdom’s largest lender, rebounding 2.6 percent after dropping 4.78 percent.

Alinma Bank was up 1.1 percent in heavy trade while Bank Aljazira rebounded 1.4 percent, having reported a 41 percent rise in third-quarter net profit to 228 million riyals ($60.80 million) on Monday.

However, most of Saudi insurers fell for the second consecutive day with Metlife AIG ANB Cooperative Insurance dropping 1.4 percent, while Malath Insurance lost 1.8 percent.

Oil prices helped petrochemical shares as PetroRabigh edged up 0.2 percent and Petrochem 0.6 percent. Mining firm Ma‘aden rose 1.4 percent.

The Dubai index rose 0.6 percent with Emaar adding 1.5 percent, recovering part of a 2.0 percent loss sustained on Monday after the company said it expected to sell 20 percent of property development unit Emaar Development LLC next month in an initial public offering.

Previously, Emaar had said it would offer up to 30 percent of the business, distributing the funds raised as dividends to shareholders in the parent company. It did not say on Sunday why the sale was expected to be only 20 percent.

Builder Drake & Scull was the most heavily traded stock and rose 2.9 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, the index was almost flat at 4,496 points percent. Eshraq Properties rose 1.3 percent after reporting on Monday a third-quarter net profit of 685,000 dirhams ($187,000), which followed losses of 48.5 ‍​million dirhams one year earlier.

Dana Gas extended losses 1.3 percent as investors are still waiting for a London court hearing on a dispute over the company’s $700 million sukuk due at the end of this month.

Qatar’s index was down 0.1 percent. Qatar National Bank, the biggest bank in the Middle East, inched up 0.1 percent in heavy trade. Ahli Bank jumped 3.6 percent.

HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index was flat to lower at 6,885 points.

DUBAI

* The index dropped 0.6 percent to 3,641 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index was flat to lower at 4,496 points.

QATAR

* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 8,110 points.

EGYPT

* The index gained 0.4 percent to 13,928 points.

KUWAIT

* The index edged down 0.4 percent to 6,622 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index was down 0.9 percent to 1,276 points.

OMAN

* The index was flat at 5,033 points. ($1 = 3.7501 riyals) (Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi, editing by Ed Osmond)

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