* Moody's raises outlook for Saudi bank sector to stable
* Atheeb Telecommunications leaps on capital decrease plan
* Dubai's Shuaa and GFH move in opposite directions
* Bahrain, Khaleeji Commercial rises on Dubai listing plan
* Mazaya Qatar slides on annual earnings
By Andrew Torchia
DUBAI, March 15 Gulf stock markets were mixed on
Wednesday but Saudi Arabia was boosted by banks after credit
rating agency Moody's raised its
outlook for the kingdom's banking system to "stable" from
The Saudi stock index climbed 0.7 percent as 11 of
the 12 listed banks gained, with the biggest, National
Commercial Bank, rising 2.4 percent.
"Saudi banks' liquidity and funding conditions will improve.
Although profitability and loan performance will continue to
soften, Saudi banks will maintain robust capital and
loss-absorption buffers compared with regional and international
peers over the outlook horizon," Moody's said.
Atheeb Telecommunications surged 9.5 percent after
calling an extraordinary general meeting to approve a capital
decrease, while construction firm Khodari jumped 7.1
Petrochemical firm Yansab fell 1.8 percent as it
In Dubai, the index rose 0.3 percent as Shuaa
Capital added 1.1 percent. GFH Financial, by
far the most heavily traded stock, fell 1.1 percent, however.
GFH confirmed late on Tuesday that it was in talks on
a possible merger with Shuaa, although Shuaa has still not
issued any statement.
District cooling firm Tabreed fell 0.5 percent as
it went ex-dividend.
In Bahrain, Khaleeji Commercial Bank surged 4.5
percent in thin trade after saying its annual general
meeting had approved a listing of the bank on Dubai's stock
market, which could dramatically improve liquidity in the shares
while benefiting shareholders including GFH and Shuaa.
GFH has previously declared its intention to list Khaleeji
Commercial, and Wednesday's statement did not give a time frame.
It said GFH would raise its stake in the bank to 55.38 percent
from 46.97 percent by acquiring shares owned by Emirates Islamic
Qatar's index edged down 0.2 percent as Mazaya Qatar
Real Estate Development sank 5.2 percent after saying
annual net profit fell to 74.6 million riyals ($20.5 million)
from 112.7 million riyals in the previous year.
In Egypt, the index slipped 0.3 percent, but Arabia
Cotton Ginning rose 4.2 percent after it posted a
first-half consolidated net profit of 84.3 million Egyptian
pounds ($4.7 million) versus a net loss of 1.4 million pounds a
* The index climbed 0.7 percent to 6,836 points.
* The index rose 0.3 percent to 3,479 points.
* The index fell 0.3 percent to 4,375 points.
* The index dropped 0.2 percent to 10,292 points.
* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 6,797 points.
* The index slipped 0.3 percent to 12,745 points.
* The index fell 0.7 percent to 5,660 points.
* The index dropped 0.3 percent to 1,371 points.
(Editing by Richard Lough)