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MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil's fresh rally lifts Saudi; property stocks boost Egypt
February 2, 2015 / 1:57 PM / 3 years ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil's fresh rally lifts Saudi; property stocks boost Egypt

* Oil bounces back mid-session, lifts Saudi stocks

* Large Saudi firms to match state employee bonus payout

* Retailers surge further on the news

* UAE markets pull back, close before oil’s rebound

* Egyptian property stocks extend gains as pound weakens

By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, Feb 2 (Reuters) - A rebound in global oil prices and decisions by state-controlled companies to pay cash bonuses to employees boosted Saudi Arabia’s stock market on Monday, while other Gulf bourses were mixed in choppy trading.

Brent crude fell in early trade on news of a U.S. refinery strike and weak Chinese manufacturing data, but bounced back later in the day and traded above $54 per barrel by the time Saudi Arabia’s market closed.

The Saudi stock index rose 0.8 percent as petrochemicals firm Saudi Basic Industries, the kingdom’s largest listed company, jumped 2.4 percent; other stocks in the sector also climbed. Petrochemical prices are linked to oil and the sector was hit hard in a sell-off triggered by oil’s plunge last year.

Retailers also performed well on Monday: Fawaz Alhokair surged 8.8 percent and Jarir Marketing jumped 2.6 percent.

This followed announcements by large companies such as Saudi Electricity and Saudi Telecom that they would pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to their workers, following last Thursday’s order by the new king that Saudi state employees would receive two months of extra salary to mark his accession.

Part of the corporate bonuses is expected to be spent on consumer goods, boosting the retailers’ revenues and profits.

Investors were less enthusiastic about the companies which will use their resources to pay out the cash; shares in Saudi Electricity edged up 0.6 percent, while Saudi Telecom fell 0.8 percent.

UAE, EGYPT

Other Gulf markets had closed when oil was still in the red and their performances were mixed.

Dubai’s index fell 1.1 percent; the benchmark had surged 4.5 percent in the previous session. But shares in property developer DAMAC shot up 6.8 percent after it reported an 11 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit on Monday, according to Reuters calculations.

Abu Dhabi’s index edged down 0.6 percent as most blue chips pulled back. Oman’s market was nearly flat, while Kuwait edged up 0.3 percent.

Qatar’s benchmark added 0.5 percent, largely on the back of Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan, which jumped 3.9 percent. The bank reported estimate-beating fourth-quarter results and a dividend hike last week.

Meanwhile, shares in Qatar National Bank dropped 2.0 percent as they no longer carried the 2014 dividend.

Egypt’s bourse edged up 0.5 percent as property developers continued to gain on hopes that Egyptians will use real estate as a hedge against the weakening pound.

Talaat Moustafa Group rose 1.2 percent, Amer Group added 0.8 percent and Palm Hills Development gained 0.2 percent.

MONDAY‘S HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index rose 0.8 percent to 9,213 points.

DUBAI

* The index fell 1.1 percent to 3,799 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index edged down 0.6 percent to 4,526 points.

QATAR

* The index added 0.5 percent to 12,118 points.

EGYPT

* The index rose 0.5 percent to 9,830 points.

KUWAIT

* The index edged up 0.3 percent to 6,654 points.

OMAN

* The index inched up 0.02 percent to 6,574 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index edged up 0.4 percent to 1,423 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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