January 3, 2017 / 8:11 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets exposed to foreign funds outperform in early trade

DUBAI, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf diverged on Tuesday morning with bourses most exposed to international funds outperforming as global equities firmed.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.6 percent as most of that region’s markets reopened after New Year holidays.

Qatar’s main index was up 0.2 percent as the largest listed stock, Qatar National Bank, added 0.7 percent. Some investors tend to rotate into Qatari stocks in the early part of each year to capture high annual dividend yields.

Dubai’s index added 0.5 percent with most trade focused on small and mid-sized shares. Builder Drake & Scull , the most heavily traded stock, jumped 6.0 percent.

Emaar Properties, a favourite of foreign funds, was up 1.1 percent.

In neighbouring Abu Dhabi the index edged down 0.1 percent, hit by a 1.1 percent decline in the largest listed stock, telecommunications operator Etisalat.

Saudi Arabia’s equities index, with relatively little exposure to foreign money, was down 0.1 percent after 50 minutes of trade.

Banking and telecommunications shares were the main drag with Samba Financial Group dropping 1.3 percent and Saudi Telecom falling 1.4 percent. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia and John Stonestreet)

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