MIDEAST STOCKS-Major indexes advance as oil, global markets recover – Reuters

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* Major markets see strong trading volumes

* Saudi gains for a second day in broad-based rebound

* Egypt rises; Beltone Financial soars 10 pct for fourth day

* Dubai recovers, trimming its 2016 losses to 2.7 pct

* Kuwait’s KIPCO advances on strong earnings

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, Feb 16 A return of some risk appetite to
global equity markets and a recovery in oil prices helped lift
major Middle East exchanges in robust volumes on Tuesday.

Riyadh’s index rose 0.9 percent to 5,740 points in
heavy trade, its second straight day of gains since news that
the central bank lifted local banks’ maximum loan-deposit ratio
to 90 percent from 85 percent to ease liquidity in the sector.

But the index came off its high of 5,848 points after Saudi
Arabia, Russia, Qatar and Venezuela agreed on Tuesday to freeze
their oil output at January levels, providing other major
producers followed suit. Oil prices rose in anticipation of the
announcement and fell back slightly afterwards.

The agreement may support global oil prices but it “is
unlikely to significantly alter the economic outlook for the
Gulf Cooperation Council”, London-based Capital Economics said
in a report.

There are doubts about whether the agreement will hold, with
Iran keen to reclaim its share of the global oil market after
sanctions were lifted.

In any case, oil prices look unlikely to rise far enough to
end pressure on state finances in the Gulf. Capital Economics
predicts regional economic growth of just 1 to 2 percent this
year and next.

Saudi Basic Industries, the largest petrochemical
producer, closed up 1.5 percent. The banking sector,
which helped lift the main index 2.4 percent on Monday, added a
further 0.3 percent.

Dar Al Arkan fell 1.1 percent after rating agency
Moody’s lowered its credit rating of the real estate developer
to B1 with a negative outlook from BA3 with a stable outlook.

Rehan Akbar, a Moody’s assistant vice-president, said: “The
rating downgrade and negative outlook reflect our view of the
interlinkages between the weakening operating and macroeconomic
environment that could continue to negatively impact Dar Al

Egypt’s main benchmark rose 1.6 percent with
Orascom Telecom, the most traded stock, adding 1.8
percent after gaining 3.7 percent on Monday.

Beltone Financial soared 10 percent for a fourth
straight trading day. The financial firm is advising on 10
mergers and acquisitions this year worth over 60 billion
Egyptian pounds ($7.66 billion), its managing director said on
Monday, as investors seek pockets of opportunity amid economic

But the chronic dollar shortage in Cairo, which has fuelled
foreign investors’ capital flight from the Egyptian stock market
for several months, has not improved.

The Egyptian pound weakened to 9 against the dollar on the
black market for the first time on Monday from 8.85 a day
earlier, as people rushed to buy the U.S. currency, two traders
told Reuters.


Dubai’s benchmark rose 2.0 percent to 3,065 points
in active trade, cutting its losses in 2016 to 2.7 percent and
making it the best-performing bourse amongst its regional peers.

Volume was concentrated in mid-cap stocks which are usually
thinly traded, including Deyaar Development and
amusement park developer Dubai Park and Resorts, which
gained 5.0 and 3.5 percent respectively.

In Abu Dhabi the index added 0.8 percent, trimming
its year-to-date losses to 3.9 percent. Real estate shares were
the main support, with Eshraq Properties and Aldar
Properties each gaining 1.7 percent.

An Aldar executive said on Monday, after the company
reported a 5.6 percent rise in fourth-quarter net attributable
profit, that the developer was monitoring the amount of real
estate it put up for sale as it tried to manage the impact of a
slowdown in the sector.

Qatar’s index edged up 0.2 percent to 9,873 points in
this month’s highest volume, but it closed 41 points below its
intra-day high. Blue chips buoyed the bourse with Barwa Real
Estate and Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan
each jumping more than 3.0 percent.

Shares in Kuwait Projects Co, which are usually
thinly traded, added 1.9 percent after the Gulf state’s largest
investment company reported a 10.7 percent rise in
fourth-quarter net profit to 15.8 million dinars ($52.9
million). Kuwait’s main index edged down 0.1 percent.



* The index rose 0.9 percent to 5,740 points.


* The index gained 1.6 percent to 5,895 points.


* The index jumped 2.0 percent to 3,065 points.


* The index rose 0.8 percent to 4,140 points.


* The index edged up 0.2 percent to 9,873 points.


* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 5,135 points.


* The index edged up 0.6 percent to 5,380 points.


* The index added 0.2 percent to 1,169 points.

(Editing by Andrew Torchia and Alison Williams)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Major indexes advance as oil, global markets recover – Reuters}