MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stocks rise with oil, Egypt weakens on rate fears – Reuters

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* Petrochemicals lift Saudi stocks

* Index breaks technical resistance

* Telecoms attract high volumes, Mobily surges on tower

* Dubai up as Arabtec soars for second day

* Lowest volume in Egypt since last October

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, March 1 Stock markets in the Gulf rose on
Tuesday after oil prices firmed above $36 a barrel, while
Egyptian stocks slid in feeble volume as investors worried about
a possible interest rate hike.

The Saudi index advanced 1.5 percent to 6,181
points, breaking technical resistance at the early February and
end-January peaks of 6,056-6,099 points. Chartists said this
pointed to a rise towards 6,850.

Petrochemical stocks helped lift the bourse as Saudi Basic
Industries added 1.7 percent and Saudi Kayan
rose 2.0 percent in high volumes.

Telecommunications also attracted considerable activity with
Atheeb adding 2.4 percent and Mobily surging
6.7 percent after Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources,
that Digital Bridge Holdings, which invests in communications
industries, was among leading bidders for Mobily’s portfolio of
wireless towers in Saudi Arabia, a sale valued at $2 billion.

In a Reuters interview last November, Mobily said it was
considering selling its mobile transmitter towers, most likely
to a specialist tower company that would then lease these back
to the seller. In February, Saudi’s Maal financial news website
said the kingdom’s three telecommunications operators including
Mobily were in talks to create a company to own and manage their
mobile transmitter towers.

For a second day, Dubai’s Arabtec soared its daily
limit; it jumped 14.6 percent to 1.65 dirhams with volume at
another 6-1/2-year high. On Monday, exchange data showed former
chief executive Hasan Ismaik had raised his stake to 11.91
percent from 11.81 percent.

In a brief statement on Tuesday, the company said there was
no material news, technical or operational, to affect its share
price. A source close to Ismaik told Reuters he was buying the
shares because he saw future value in them, but details of his
intentions remained unclear.

Many institutional investors are sceptical of the stock
after its collapse from a record high of 7.37 dirhams, hit in
May 2014. Of eight analysts covering it, three rate it “hold”
and five “sell” or “strong sell”, according to Thomson Reuters
data; their median price target is 1.09 dirhams.

But Arabtec helped lift Dubai’s index 1.5 percent,
with Union Properties adding 4.3 percent, its third
straight day of gains.

Amlak Finance, a mid-sized Islamic investment
house, jumped 9.4 percent, adding to a 12.8 percent gain made on
the previous day when the company announced that annual net
profit attributable to equity holders had surged 130 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, the index added 0.5 percent, with most
trade concentrated in small and mid-tier shares. Eshraq
Properties, the most traded stock, rose 1.3 percent.

Most blue-chip names, which are usually heavily traded,
barely moved. The largest listed stock, Etisalat,
added 0.6 percent and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank rose
2.9 percent in modest volume ahead of its annual shareholders’
meeting on Tuesday evening.

Qatar’s main benchmark added 0.8 percent in modest
volume with Gulf International Services, the most
traded stock, up 1.4 percent to 37.25 riyals. Last week,
AlphaMena rated the stock a “buy” with a target of 73.60 riyals.


But Cairo’s index edged down 0.5 percent in its
lowest volume since October 2015. Orascom Telecom, the
most heavily traded stock, fell 3.4 percent.

Expectations that Egypt’s interest rates will be hiked next
month have increased. The Finance Ministry cancelled Monday’s
five-year treasury bond issue, while the average yield on the
10-year bond jumped more than 21 basis points.

But Beltone Financial soared 9.9 percent after
more than doubling over the last two weeks. The financial unit
of Orascom Telecom this week signed a share purchase agreement
to buy CI Capital, the investment banking arm of Commercial
International Bank. CIB fell 1.9 percent.



* The index rose 1.5 percent to 6,181 points.


* The index gained 1.5 percent to 3,287 points.


* The index added 0.5 percent to 4,372 points.


* The index rose 0.8 percent to 9,969 points.


* The index fell 0.5 percent to 6,116 points.


* The index added 0.5 percent to 5,236 points.


* The index rose 0.4 percent to 5,416 points.


* The index fell 0.6 percent to 1,171 points.

(Editing by Andrew Torchia and Kevin Liffey)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stocks rise with oil, Egypt weakens on rate fears – Reuters}