* Dubai index rises above technical resistance
* Turnover balloons, much activity in low-priced stocks
* Nama Chemicals continues plunging in Saudi Arabia
* Builder Khodari up after winning government contract
* Foreign investors turn net sellers, by tiny margin, in
By Andrew Torchia
DUBAI, Jan 8 Most Gulf stock markets rose on
Sunday on the back of firm oil prices and global equities, but
profit-taking in sectors including petrochemicals pulled down
Dubai's index rose 1.8 percent to 3,692 points in
the heaviest trading volume in nearly a month, which more than
doubled from Thursday's level.
The index climbed above technical resistance at the
mid-December peak of 3,659 points; a second straight close above
that level would confirm a break, leaving the next chart barrier
at the October 2015 peak of 3,740 points.
Seven of the 10 most heavily traded issues were low-priced
stocks - below 1 dirham - which local retail investors tend to
favour. Two of the 10 were insurance firms, with Dubai Islamic
Insurance jumping 4.6 percent and Islamic Arab
Insurance adding 3.4 percent. For the past couple of
weeks, some traders have been speculating there may be mergers
in the insurance industry following last year's news of a big
Abu Dhabi banking merger.
Abu Dhabi's index climbed 0.7 percent with cement
firms leading the gains. Gulf Cement jumped 12.9
percent in very thin trade.
Qatar edged up 0.1 percent, supported by property
firm United Development, up 0.9 percent. But Gulf
Warehousing fell 1.2 percent despite
recommending an annual cash dividend of 1.60 riyals per share,
up slightly from 1.50 riyals in the previous year. It said net
profit climbed 11 percent last year.
Saudi Arabia's index fell 0.8 percent. A monthly
Reuters poll of Middle East fund managers, conducted at the end
of last month, found many believing Saudi stocks were fully
valued after a strong rally in the past few months, and not
intending to add to their portfolios in the next three months.
Petrochemical firm Saudi Kayan fell 1.1 percent
and Nama Chemicals, which has lost about a third of
its value this year after its accumulated losses reached over 75
percent of its capital, slid 8.1 percent.
However, builder Abdullah Abdul Mohsin al-Khodari and Sons
rose 0.8 percent after saying it had secured a 69
million riyal ($18.4 million) contract from the Ministry of
Environment, Water and Agriculture.
The amount is small but Khodari, like other Saudi
construction companies, suffered from a severe cut-back in state
contract awards last year and the new contract may indicate
money is flowing again.
In Egypt, the index climbed 0.5 percent although
exchange data showed non-Arab investors turning net sellers of
stocks, by a tiny margin, for the first time since the Egyptian
pound was floated on Nov. 3.
Qalaa Holdings rose 3.6 percent after saying on
Thursday that it was in talks with interested parties to divest
its stake in Rift Valley Railways, one of its major overseas
* The index fell 0.8 percent to 7,139 points.
* The index rose 1.8 percent to 3,692 points.
* The index added 0.7 percent to 4,634 points.
* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 10,726 points.
* The index climbed 0.5 percent to 12,891 points.
* The index climbed 1.1 percent to 5,896 points.
* The index was flat at 5,792 points.
* The index rose 0.3 percent to 1,210 points.
(Editing by Stephen Powell)