April 22, 2018 / 1:47 PM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi petchems fall in weak region but UAE's TAQA keeps rising

* Region reacts to global pull-back

* Saudi’s Yanbu drops on earnings miss

* Ma’aden pulls back after leap on aluminium prices

* Abu Dhabi’s TAQA continues uptrend

* Doha Bank beats earning estimates

By Davide Barbuscia

DUBAI, April 22 (Reuters) - Middle Eastern stock markets mostly fell on Sunday, with Saudi Arabian petrochemical shares hit particularly hard, in response to a drop by global bourses at the end of last week.

The Saudi index slipped 0.3 percent as Saudi Basic Industries, the biggest petrochemical firm, slid 0.6 percent and Sahara Petrochemicals, the worst performer, dropped 5.1 percent as it went ex-dividend.

Yanbu National Petrochemicals was down 2.1 percent after announcing a net profit of 630.6 million riyals ($168 million) in the first quarter, 3.7 percent higher year-on-year. Analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast on average a 750 million riyal profit.

Miner Ma’aden, which had surged 6.1 percent on Thursday because of soaring international aluminium prices, fell back 0.5 percent.

But Al Sagr Cooperative Insurance climbed 2 percent, rising sharply for a second straight day after saying it would discuss a possible merger with Wala’a Cooperative Insurance, which edged up 0.6 percent.

Dubai’s index slipped 0.1 percent as blue chip Emaar Properties dropped 0.7 percent to 5.60 dirhams, returning near a two-year low of 5.52 dirhams hit earlier this month.

Investment company Amanat Holdings, the best performer in Dubai, rose 2.9 percent. At a general meeting on Sunday, shareholders were expected to approve the distribution of 1.5 percent in cash dividends for 2017.

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) was up 3.4 percent and was the most heavily traded stock in that market, continuing a sharp uptrend that began in March and based partly on strong oil prices. The stock has soared more than 50 percent since the end of March.

In Qatar, Doha Bank lost 0.7 percent despite reporting on Sunday 382 million riyals ($105 million) in first- quarter net profit, a 4.7 percent increase year-on-year, and beating the estimates of three analysts polled by Reuters who forecast 348 million riyals on average. The Qatar index closed 0.5 percent down.

Egypt’s index climbed 0.7 percent as investment firm Qalaa Holdings soared 9.7 percent to a three-year high of 2.71 Egyptian pounds, rising above the March peak of 2.60 pounds. Early this month Pharos Research calculated a fair value of 3.00 pounds for the stock, which has been rising partly in anticipation of the planned trial start-up of its oil refinery this year.


* The index shed 0.3 percent to 8,257 points.


* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 3,080 points.


* The index lost 0.5 percent to 4,682 points.


* The index dropped 0.5 percent to 9,156 points.


* The index climbed 0.7 percent to 17,898 points.


* The index ticked up 0.1 percent to 4,776 points.


* The index edged up 0.03 percent to 4,761 points.


* The index was flat at 1,301 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia and David Evans)

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