May 15, 2017 / 8:08 AM / 2 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges up with oil, Gulf mostly sluggish

2 Min Read

DUBAI, May 15 (Reuters) - Most stock markets in the Gulf were sluggish in early trade on Monday, although Saudi Arabia edged up in response to a surge in oil prices after the Saudi and Russian oil ministers agreed output cuts should be extended until March 2018.

The Saudi index rose 0.3 percent in the first half-hour, aided by petrochemicals, with Saudi Basic Industries gaining by the same margin.

But PetroRabigh, which had tumbled by its 10 percent daily limit on Sunday after reporting a sharp widening of its quarterly loss, sank a further 6.1 percent.

Real estate developer Dar Al Arkan added 2.4 percent after saying its board had accepted the resignation of Abdulrehman Hamad al-Harkan as chief executive officer, effective on June 1, for personal reasons. It did not name a new CEO.

Dubai's index slipped 0.3 percent with activity focusing on builder Arabtec, the second most heavily traded issue, and rights to subscribe to its capital increase .

The underlying stock surged 6.2 percent to 0.81 dirham as the rights, which began trading on Monday and will continue through May 28, swung widely between 0.03 dirham and 0.199 dirham.

Since the rights allow the underlying stock to be bought at a price of 1.0 dirham, well above the stock's current market price, they may never be exercised. But the price of the rights is so low that some local investors see a good chance for short-term speculation with minimal downside.

Shuaa Capital dropped 4.0 percent despite reporting that it had swung to a first-quarter profit from a year-earlier loss; total revenues shrank during the quarter.

Indexes in Abu Dhabi and Qatar were almost flat. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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