March 12, 2017 / 7:53 AM / 10 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Plunge in oil dents Gulf; Shuaa, Bank Aljazira surge

DUBAI, March 12 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf were mostly lower in early trade on Sunday after crude oil prices plunged at the end of last week to a three-month low, but Dubai’s Shuaa Capital and Saudi Arabia’s Bank Aljazira surged in response to company-specific news.

A little over two-thirds of Saudi Arabia’s 14 listed petrochemical makers traded lower with Saudi Kayan Petrochemical retreating 2.5 percent, helping drag the overall Saudi index 0.7 percent lower.

Shares in Banque Saudi Fransi lost 1.2 percent after Credit Agricole, which owns 31 percent of the Saudi lender, said it was satisfied with business at the bank. On Wednesday Reuters reported the French major stakeholder had hired JP Morgan for a potential sale of its stake valued at around $2.4 billion.

But Bank Aljazira jumped its 10 percent daily limit after the lender proposed a 30 percent capital increase through a bonus share issue.

Dubai’s index fell 0.3 percent as two-thirds of the traded shares dropped. Emaar Properties lost 1 percent and DXB Entertainments was down 1.6 percent.

Shuaa Capital jumped 10.4 percent, however, after saying it had signed an agreement to acquire Integrated Capital and Abu-Dhabi based brokerage Integrated Securities. The acquisition is pending regulatory approval and is expected to close in the coming weeks, Shuaa said.

Integrated Financial Group is managed and controlled by Abu Dhabi Financial Group. Last November, Abu Dhabi Financial Group bought a 48.36 percent stake in Shuaa.

Abu Dhabi’s index was down 0.4 percent in very thin trade. Heavyweight First Gulf Bank fell 1.2 percent.

Qatar’s index, however, extended Thursday’s 1.0 percent gain and added 0.2 percent. Building materials maker Qatari Investors Group was the top gainer, climbing 2.0 percent.

In Kuwait, National Bank of Kuwait fell 2.8 percent as the stock went ex-dividend. The index fell 0.3 percent. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Mark Potter)

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