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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi gains as crude firms but UAE, Qatar lag; Egypt strong
October 5, 2016 / 2:21 PM / 10 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi gains as crude firms but UAE, Qatar lag; Egypt strong

* Saudi petrochemicals lead index higher

* Telcos diverge with Zain jumping but STC, Mobily sliding

* Builder Alkhodari gains after winning contract from Ma'aden

* Egypt gains for third session as investors ready for IMF loan

* UAE indexes trail with Dubai down

* Kuwait's NIC jumps after appointment to execute Americana deal

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's petrochemical stocks rallied on Wednesday after Brent crude oil firmed over $51 a barrel, while Egypt climbed for a third straight session as investors anticipated approval of its International Monetary Fund loan programme.

Riyadh's stock index closed up 1.1 percent as the petrochemical sub-index rose 3.4 percent with all 14 listed producers advancing. Yanbu National Petrochemicals (Yansab) jumped 5.9 percent to 46.80 riyals and National Petrochemical surged 8.2 percent to 15.15 riyals.

Analysts at NCB Capital said in a note that Yansab was one of their top picks in the sector because of superior efficiency and low debt levels. They maintained an "overweight" rating on the stock with a price target of 50.40 riyals.

Analysts at Bahrain's SICO said: "Yansab is in a strong position as it is now a 'cash cow' with no near-term large capex requirements. Double-digit cash flow yield should support the high single-digit dividend yield." They rate the stock a "buy" with a target of 53.00 riyals.

NCB also upgraded National Petrochemical to "overweight" with a price target of 17.30 riyals, citing greater efficiency following a two-month shutdown and attractive valuations. SICO upgraded the stock too, to "buy" with a target of 19.00 riyals.

Saudi Arabia's three top telecommunications stocks were mixed in a second straight session of heavy trade after the government said it would provide operators with "unified licences" allowing them to offer a full range of services.

Zain Saudi rose 4.7 percent, taking its gain over two days to 14.8 percent. Its chief competitor Saudi Telecom retreated 2.3 percent and Mobily fell 0.8 percent.

Builder Al Khodari jumped 4.0 percent in active trade after it said it had signed a contract with miner Ma'aden to construct an aluminium producing facility for 49 million riyals ($13.1 million).

In Egypt, the index of the 30 most valuable shares gained 2.1 percent, taking its rise for the week to 6.2 percent. Egyptian Resorts was the top gainer in the index, jumping 5.5 percent.

Many investors think Egypt's $12 billion IMF loan programme may be finalised in the next few weeks. Egypt's deputy finance minister told Reuters on Wednesday the IMF would discuss Egypt's loan at a "future" executive board meeting, not at its annual meeting this week.

UAE UNDERPERFORMS

Dubai's index pulled back 1.3 percent to 3,362 points, its lowest close in 12 weeks. It turned technically bearish on Monday when it broke technical support on the August and September lows of 3,430-3,442 points, which became immediate resistance. Losers outnumbered gainers 23 to three.

Builder Drake and Scull dropped 3.8 percent and DXB Entertainments, which is due to open its theme parks in Dubai this month, lost 1.3 percent.

Banks weighed on Abu Dhabi's stock index, which closed 0.4 percent lower. Union National Bank retreated 3.7 percent and First Gulf Bank lost 0.9 percent.

Qatar's index edged down 0.2 percent. Mobile operator Ooredoo led the falls, closing down 0.8 percent.

Kuwait's National Investments Co jumped 5.7 percent after it said it was appointed to execute the purchase of a majority stake in Kuwait Food Co on behalf of one of its clients. Kuwait Food rose 0.8 percent, and the general market index edged up 0.04 percent.

WEDNESDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index gained 1.1 percent to 5,585 points.

DUBAI

* The index fell 1.3 percent to 3,362 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index edged down 0.4 percent to 4,394 points.

EGYPT

* The index gained 2.1 percent to 8,369 points.

QATAR

* The index fell 0.2 percent to 10,372 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index lost 0.4 percent to 1,139 points.

KUWAIT

* The index added 0.04 percent to 5,355 points.

OMAN

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 5,616 points.

Editing by Andrew Torchia and Mark Potter

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