MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi falls after weak data, most bourses rise – Reuters

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* Saudi index closes below mid-March low

* First annual money supply drop for over a decade

* Middle East Healthcare jumps on listing

* Dubai Parks rebounds after plunge on rights issue

* Orascom Telecom helps Egypt rise

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, March 29 Saudi Arabia’s stock market fell
sharply on Tuesday as petrochemical stocks sagged and the
central bank reported weak economic data, but most major markets
in the region gained.

The Saudi index fell 1.5 percent to 6,177 points,
closing below its mid-March low of 6,202 points, which suggested
an uptrend since mid-February may have ended. Trading turnover
shrank, a sign that investors were pulling out of the market.

Petrochemical heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries
tumbled 3.0 percent after the price of Brent crude oil
fell back below $40 a barrel.

Alinma Bank, the most heavily traded stock,
tumbled 4.8 percent as it went ex-dividend.

Hospital operator Middle East Healthcare jumped
its 10 percent daily limit to 70.25 riyals as it listed on the
market, after raising 1.77 billion riyals ($471 million) by
selling 27.61 million shares or 30 percent of its capital at 64
riyals per share.

It had originally intended to complete its initial public
offer in early February but rescheduled the offer to March after
the market plunged. Saudi IPOs are customarily priced
attractively for retail investors, and the stocks often rise
their 10 percent limits for several days after listing.

Central bank data released on Tuesday showed Saudi Arabia’s
M3 money supply shrank from a year earlier in February for the
first time in more than a decade – a fresh sign that the economy
is slowing sharply because of low oil prices.

Dubai’s stock index rose 0.3 percent to 3,275
points, holding technical support on its mid-March low of 3,253
points. But trading volume shrank to modest levels.

Dubai Parks & Resorts, the most heavily traded
stock, rebounded 3.3 percent after tumbling more than 10 percent
over the past two days after proposing to boost its capital by
1.68 billion dirhams ($458 million) through a rights issue to
finance development of a Six Flags theme park.

Its rights issue, and similar moves by other companies in
recent weeks, have created concern about the market’s ability to
absorb the cash calls at a time of slowing economic growth in
the region.

Abu Dhabi’s index climbed 0.9 percent as
telecommunications firm Etisalat rose 2.5 percent.
Aldar Properties rose 1.1 percent after telling local
media that it planned to launch a “major development” on Yas
Island. Details would be announced later, it said.

Qatar gained 1.7 percent as Barwa Real Estate
, the most heavily traded stock, gained 4.0 percent in
its heaviest trade since last July.

Egypt’s index rose 1.0 percent as the most heavily
traded stock, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris’s Orascom
Telecom Media, added 2.6 percent.

It fell sharply early this week after Sawiris said its bid
to acquire CI Capital was being held up by national security
concerns, but stabilised in late trade on Monday after a source
familiar with the deal told Reuters that the acquisition was
expected to go ahead eventually.

Mobile phone carrier Orange Egypt rose 1.0 percent
after saying it had been awarded 285.19 million Egyptian pounds
($32.1 million) by an arbitration body in a dispute over
interconnection charges with other operators.



* The index fell 1.5 percent to 6,177 points.


* The index rose 1.0 percent to 7,567 points.


* The index rose 0.3 percent to 3,275 points.


* The index climbed 0.9 percent to 4,319 points.


* The index gained 1.7 percent to 10,317 points.


* The index rose 0.3 percent to 5,266 points.


* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 5,541 points.


* The index rose 0.8 percent to 1,162 points.

(Editing by Alison Williams)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi falls after weak data, most bourses rise – Reuters}