MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed as volumes decline; Egypt flat – Reuters

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* Petrochemicals are main support in Saudi; banks weak

* Dubai up as Dubai Parks soars in heavy trade

* Blue chips, real estate sector drag on Abu Dhabi, Qatar

* Etisalat continues sliding after CEO’s resignation

* Egypt ends six-day rising streak, foreigners net buyers

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, March 13 Stock markets in the Gulf were
mixed on Sunday as trading volumes shrank from the previous
week. Egypt closed flat, ending six days of gains.

Riyadh’s index added 0.2 percent to 6,369 points,
again shying away from technical resistance at its 100-day
average, now at 6,510 points. The petrochemical sector
added 0.7 percent.

Saudi Arabia Fertilizers (SAFCO) fell 0.4 percent
after saying it was considering taking full control of chemical
fertiliser producer National Chemical Fertilizers Co (Ibn
Al-Bayttar) by buying out the 50 percent stake of Saudi Basic
Industries (SABIC). SAFCO’s shares fell 0.4 percent,
as SABIC rose 0.7 percent.

Retail shares regained some strength after falling last week
when Jarir Marketing, one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest
retailers, said its first-quarter sales could drop as much as 30
percent year-on-year. Jarir rose 1.3 percent.

But the banking sector, the largest segment by value,
underperformed the market. The largest retail bank, Al Rajhi
, declined 1.0 percent.

Dubai’s index jumped 1.4 percent, taking its
year-to-date-gains to 7.9 percent. Dubai Parks, the
amusement park builder, surged its daily limit of 14.3 percent
to 1.44 dirhams in the heaviest trading volume since June 2015.
Analysts now consider the stock fairly valued, according to
Thomson Reuters data; two analysts covering it calculate a
median target price of 1.33 dirhams.

Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties rose 2.8
percent to 6.27 dirhams. The stock has rebounded 50 percent from
a multi-year low mid-January. But other heavily traded stocks
failed to hold on to early gains; Arabtec and GFH
Financial each fell more than 2.0 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, the index dropped 0.8 percent as local
investors booked profits in real estate stocks; Eshraq
Properties and Aldar Properties tumbled 6.4
and 1.5 percent respectively.

The largest listed stock by market value, Etisalat
, tumbled 2.2 percent. The telecommunications giant has
been falling since Thursday, when it said Chief Executive Ahmad
Julfar had resigned and said it would restructure by June-end.
It did not describe the restructuring plans.

Qatar’s benchmark fell 0.6 percent to 10,328 points
in moderate volume. Barwa Real Estate, the most
heavily traded stock, fell 0.8 percent and Qatar National Bank
dropped 0.9 percent.


Cairo’s main index initially rose but closed flat
in moderate volume. Last week, the index rallied 7.8 percent,
breaking above its February peak, a bullish technical signal.

The Egyptian pound held steady at an official auction on
Sunday but strengthened on the black market. The central bank
supplied the market with foreign currency last week and eased
restrictions on dollar deposits and withdrawals.

With currency concerns easing – temporarily at least –
foreign traders, who have been largely absent from Cairo’s
bourse in recent months, were net buyers, bourse data showed.

Last Wednesday, Egypt’s central bank said it was removing
caps on foreign exchange deposits and withdrawals for companies
importing essential goods. The government also said it would
reduce the price at which it offers natural gas to steel plants
to $4.5 per one million thermal units, from $7.

Ezz Steel added 0.9 percent to 8.20 Egyptian
pounds on Sunday after soaring 20 percent on Thursday in its
heaviest trade since November 2013. Brokerage Prime Holding
estimated fair value for the stock at 15.01 pounds under the new
gas price structure, and classified it a “buy”.

GB Auto climbed 1.7 percent to 2.37 pounds.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters have a median target price of
5.05 Egyptian pounds for the stock. On Thursday, independent
equity research firm Alphamena rated the stock a “buy” with a
target of 3.76 pounds.

Beltone Financial surged 8.3 percent, recouping
most of Thursday’s 10 percent loss. Over the past three weeks,
its price has more than quadrupled in response to its buyout of
CI Capital.



* The index added 0.2 percent to 6,369 points.


* The index rose 1.4 percent to 3,401 points.


* The index retreated 0.8 percent to 4,462 points.


* The index fell 0.6 percent to 10,328 points.


* The index flat at 6,564 points.


* The index added 0.1 percent to 5,289 points.


* The index edged up 0.3 percent to 5,308 points.


* The index slid 0.3 percent to 1,152 points.

(Editing by Andrew Torchia, Larry King)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed as volumes decline; Egypt flat – Reuters}