February 9, 2015 / 1:46 PM / 3 years ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mixed as oil steadies

* Saudi Electricity jumps after c.bank head urges subsidy reform

* Dubai index nears major technical resistance

* Dubai’s DAMAC plunges after proposing no cash dividend

* Qatar edges up on strong 2014 earnings, dividends

* Kuwait’s NIG falls as owners may lose air terminal bid

By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets were mixed on Monday as the oil price paused in its rally and some news was negative for local companies. Dubai outperformed the region as its index neared major technical resistance.

Brent crude held around $58 per barrel as falling U.S. oil rig counts and signs of strong U.S. economic growth were balanced by a slump in Chinese imports, pointing to lower fuel demand in the world’s biggest energy consumer.

Saudi Arabia’s stock index rose 0.5 percent to 9,390 points, closing above its 100-day average, now at 9,325 points, for the second session in a row, a positive technical sign.

Saudi Kayan Petrochemical climbed a further 1.1 percent, having surged its daily 10 percent limit on Sunday after the oil ministry allocated more natural gas to the company, allowing it to expand ethylene production at its petrochemical complex in Jubail.

Saudi Kayan’s larger affiliate Saudi Basic Industries was up 0.9 percent.

Saudi Electricity Co jumped 2.2 percent after Saudi Arabia’s central bank governor called for reforms to the country’s lavish system of energy and water subsidies, although his speech, published on the central bank’s website late on Sunday, gave no indication that the government actually planned concrete action. Higher electricity tariffs could benefit the company’s bottom line.

Meanwhile, Dubai’s index rose 1.2 percent as blue-chip developer Emaar Properties added 1.1 percent and its subsidiary Emaar Malls surged 4.6 percent.

The Dubai index ended at 3,941 points, nearing chart resistance at 3,960-4,008 points, the late December and January highs. Any break of this area would trigger a bullish right triangle formed by the highs and lows since mid-December, and pointing up in subsequent months to the 4,700-point area.

Healthcare and education firm Amanat surged 5.3 percent ahead of its board meeting on Wednesday to review 2014 results.

But property developer DAMAC plunged its daily 10 percent limit to 2.79 dirhams. The company on Monday proposed a 10 percent bonus share issue equivalent to 500 million dirhams ($136.1 million) but no cash payout for 2014; analysts had forecast a dividend of 0.14 dirham, and the stock had shot up 73 percent this month ahead of the announcement.

Abu Dhabi’s benchmark edged up 0.6 percent. Sharjah Cement surged 5.5 percent after the company reported a 27 percent rise in 2014 net profit.

QATAR, KUWAIT

Qatar’s bourse added 0.3 percent as Qatar International Islamic Bank jumped 3.2 percent. The lender reported a 10 percent increase in 2014 net profit and proposed a cash dividend of 4.00 riyals per share on Monday, up from 3.75 riyals it paid for 2013.

Medicare Group surged 4.6 percent after announcing that its 2014 profit had doubled and proposing a dividend of 5.00 riyals per share, up from 3.00 riyals a year earlier.

Kuwait’s index slipped 0.1 percent and National Industries Group, owned by the Kharafi family, fell 1.0 percent after a technical committee in the public works ministry recommended that all bids to build a new terminal at the country’s international airport be rejected.

In November, the tender committee for the project said a consortium of Kuwait’s Kharafi National, another firm owned by the same family, and Turkey’s Limak Holding had submitted the lowest bid for the contract, worth 1.386 billion dinars ($4.78 billion). But the technical committee ruled that this bid was too high, state news agency KUNA reported.

Meanwhile, Kuwait Finance House (KFH), the Gulf State’s largest sharia-compliant bank by assets, added 1.3 percent after posting a 35.8 percent jump in fourth-quarter net profit on Monday.

KFH’s net profit for the three months to the end of December was 36.4 million dinars, according to Reuters calculations, while Arqaam Capital had forecast 26.0 million dinars.

Egypt’s stock market edged down 0.7 percent as some of the recent top gainers pulled back, such as property developers Talaat Moustafa Group and Medinet Nasr Housing and Development, down 1.9 percent each. Both stocks have outperformed the index, which is up 10.7 percent year-to-date.

MONDAY‘S HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index rose 0.5 percent to 9,390 points.

DUBAI

* The index rose 1.2 percent to 3,941 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index added 0.6 percent to 4,647 points.

QATAR

* The index edged up 0.3 percent to 12,667 points.

EGYPT

* The index fell 0.7 percent to 9,884 points.

KUWAIT

* The index slipped 0.1 percent to 6,749 points.

OMAN

* The index edged down 0.5 percent to 6,691 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index inched up 0.1 percent to 1,440 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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