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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed, Oman falls after budget; Egypt edges down
January 2, 2017 / 2:00 PM / 9 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed, Oman falls after budget; Egypt edges down

* Much Dubai activity focuses on stocks below 1 dirham

* Saudi’s Al Tayyar pulls back after surge on Sunday

* Omani telecommunications firms continue slid on royalty hike

* Bahrain lists first sharia-compliant retail REIT

* Egypt’s Qalaa surges in heaviest trade since listing

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets were mixed on Monday as most reopened after the New Year, with Oman falling after the release of an austere state budget for 2017. Egypt edged down although foreign investors remained net buyers of stocks.

Dubai’s index rose 0.2 percent as much activity focused on speculative stocks with prices below 1 dirham. Islamic Arab Insurance, the most heavily traded stock, rocketed 15 percent in its largest volume since April.

Abu Dhabi fell 0.3 percent, partly due to a 7.6 percent slide in Abu Dhabi National Energy.

Qatar edged down 0.1 percent. Islamic bank Masraf Al Rayan dropped that much after saying it would suspend its brokerage business, Al Rayan Financial Brokerage Co. It said the brokerage’s paid-up capital represented just 0.06 percent of the bank’s total assets.

Saudi Arabia’s index ended 0.1 percent higher but 0.7 percent off its intra-day peak, with petrochemicals lagging slightly. Travel agency Al Tayyar, which had climbed 7.4 percent on Sunday in unusually heavy trade, fell back 1.3 percent.

Oman dropped 0.8 percent after the government released a 2017 budget plan on Sunday that projected a smaller deficit but included fresh austerity steps and tight curbs on spending because of low oil prices.

Oman Telecommunications lost 2.1 percent after tumbling 4.3 percent on Sunday in response to an increase in the royalty that it must pay the government. Rival Ooredoo Oman fell 2.0 percent after plunging 7.9 percent on Sunday.

Bahrain listed its first sharia-compliant retail real estate investment trust, Eskan Bank Realty Income Trust. The REIT rose 7 percent in very thin trade.

In Egypt, the index pulled back 0.4 percent but exchange data showed non-Arab foreign investors remained net buyers of stocks by a small margin, continuing a streak that began with the floating of the Egyptian pound on Nov. 3.

Investment firm Qalaa Holdings was the most heavily traded stock, shooting up 9.7 percent to 1.13 pounds in its largest daily volume since it listed in late 2009.

The stock has been in a downtrend for several years from a peak of 5.45 pounds in 2014, but it may now be reversing that trend. Its surge in the past two days triggered a reverse head & shoulders pattern formed by the highs and lows since June and pointing up to around 1.40 pounds.

MONDAY‘S HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 7,247 points.

DUBAI

* The index rose 0.2 percent to 3,539 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index fell 0.3 percent to 4,534 points.

QATAR

* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 10,429 points.

EGYPT

* The index fell 0.4 percent to 12,291 points.

KUWAIT

* The index added 0.5 percent to 5,775 points.

OMAN

* The index dropped 0.8 percent to 5,700 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 1,220 points.

editing by David Stamp

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