July 17, 2018 / 1:17 PM / in 3 months

MIDEAST STOCKS-Bahrain’s Ahli United jumps on merger news amid weak Gulf markets

* Brent futures at three-month low pressures Gulf stocks

* Ahli United Bank lifts Bahrain index

* Masraf Al Rayan boosts Qatar market

* Petchems down in Saudi on low oil prices

* Drake and Scull jumps in Dubai

By Davide Barbuscia

DUBAI, July 17 (Reuters) - Most Middle East stock markets shed value on Tuesday, hit by a drop in oil prices and reflecting a slump in global stocks.

Brent futures fell to a three-month low as Libyan ports reopened and Russia and other producers said they would increase output. The contracts were trading at $71.95 per barrel at 1207 GMT, after falling as low as $71.35 during the day.

Apart from exchanges in Bahrain and Qatar, all the Gulf markets closed in negative territory.

In Bahrain, the index was up 0.5 percent as Ahli United Bank climbed 2.3 percent, after Kuwait’s largest Islamic bank, Kuwait Finance House, said it was interested in a merger with Ahli United. KFH’s shares dropped 1.9 percent.

The Qatari index closed 0.1 percent up, lifted by gains in some banks such as Masraf Al Rayan, which added 1.3 percent. The bank announced a profit of 1.07 billion riyals ($293.96 million) on Monday, up 4.5 percent year on year.

In Saudi Arabia, the index shed 0.3 percent. Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co fell 1.2 percent and Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) lost 0.5 percent.

Riyad Bank, Saudi Arabia’s fourth-largest lender by assets, shed 0.8 percent despite reporting earlier a 25.2 percent rise in second-quarter net profit, in line with analysts’ forecasts.

The bank made 1.06 billion riyals ($282.64 million) in the three months to June 30, up from 848 million a year earlier, it said in an exchange filing. Three analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a profit of 1.03 billion riyals. Deposits dipped 2.3 percent to 153.4 billion riyals.

In Dubai, where the index shed 0.2 percent, Drake and Scull International (DSI) jumped 2.9 percent after it said on Monday that Tabarak Investment, which has a 13.3 percent stake in the company, will continue to be a strategic investor.

DSI has been lagging because of concerns about its financial position, business outlook and the outcome of an investigation by United Arab Emirates authorities into financial violations by previous management.

Emaar Properties lost 1 percent after it said it is exploring various financing options to streamline its business. That came in response to a Financial Times article, which said the Dubai developer has put $1.4 billion in assets on sale amid a slump in the real estate market.

SUDI ARABIA

* The index shed 0.3 percent to 8,463 points.

DUBAI

* The index lost 0.2 percent to 2,913 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index slipped 0.2 percent to 4,739 points.

QATAR

* The index gained 0.1 percent to 9,450 points.

KUWAIT

* The index dropped 0.8 percent to 5,346 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index rose 0.5 percent to 1,358 points.

OMAN

* The index shed 0.1 percent to 4,442 points.

EGYPT

* The index dropped 1.5 percent to 15,421 points.

$1 = 3.6400 Qatar riyals $1 = 3.7503 riyals Reporting by Davide Barbuscia, editing by Larry King

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