March 14, 2017 / 2:17 PM / in 4 months

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed; Shuaa pulls down Dubai, bond issue buoys Kuwait

3 Min Read

* Dubai's Shuaa, GFH fall back after surge on M&A hopes

* Air Arabia tumbles as it goes ex-dividend

* Strong demand for Kuwait's debut foreign bond

* Commercial Bank of Qatar rises in heavy trade

* Telecom Egypt continues slide on Q4 loss

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, March 14 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets were mixed on Tuesday with a retreat by Shuaa Capital helping to dampen Dubai while the success of the Kuwait government's debut international bond issue buoyed that market.

The Dubai index fell 0.9 percent as Shuaa dropped 4.2 percent. It had risen more than 18 percent to a seven-year high in the previous two days on speculation that it might merge with Bahrain's GFH Financial.

During late trade on Tuesday, GFH confirmed that speculation, saying it had been discussing potential acquisitions of mergers with several financial institutions including Shuaa, and that no final decision had been made yet.

Tuesday's pull-back in Shuaa's stock suggested some investors were now wondering whether the financial terms of a merger would benefit Shuaa shareholders. GFH's Dubai-listed shares, which had jumped 7 percent on Monday, closed 0.7 percent lower.

Air Arabia plunged 6.7 percent as it went ex-dividend. Separately, the head of the International Air Transport Association said that the profitability of airlines in the United Arab Emirates was expected to fall this year because of high seat capacity relative to demand.

The Saudi Arabian index was almost flat. Saudi Arabia Refineries sank 3.5 percent after it reported a full-year loss of 4.0 million riyals ($1.1 million).

Qatar's index lost 0.5 percent with United Development tumbling 7.1 percent as it went ex-dividend. But Commercial Bank of Qatar, the most heavily traded stock, rose 2.5 percent.

Kuwait's index gained 1.2 percent after the government successfully sold $8 billion of debt in its debut international bond issue, with orders for the issue totalling $29 billion - a sign of investor confidence in the country.

The Egyptian index fell 1.1 percent as Telecom Egypt dropped a further 3.7 percent. On Monday, it sank 3.1 percent after swinging to a fourth-quarter net loss of 513 million Egyptian pounds ($29 million), compared with a net profit of 868 million pounds in the prior-year period.

Tuesday's Highlights

Saudi Arabia

* The index edged up 0.04 percent to 6,791 points.

Dubai

* The index fell 0.9 percent to 3,469 points.

Abu Dhabi

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 4,388 points.

Qatar

* The index dropped 0.5 percent to 10,314 points.

Kuwait

* The index climbed 1.2 percent to 6,790 points.

Egypt

* The index fell 1.1 percent to 12,790 points.

Oman

* The index fell 0.3 percent to 5,698 points.

Bahrain

* The index rose 0.3 percent to 1,375 points.

Editing by Richard Lough

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