January 10, 2018 / 2:22 PM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed, Qatar continues rally as foreigners buy

* Qatar’s Aamal heavily traded in wake of industrial plan

* Oil price rise boosts Saudi petrochemical stocks

* Dubai’s Union Properties falls after news on Emicool stake sale

* Bahrain’s Ithmaar Holding jumps on approval of Dubai listing

* Egypt’s GB Auto surges after Al Olayan Saudi boosts stake

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets were mostly mixed in narrow ranges on Wednesday but Qatar rose for a fifth straight day on the back of buying by foreign investors seeking attractive dividend yields.

The Qatari index rose 0.5 percent in active trade. Exchange data showed foreign investors were net buyers of stocks by a substantial margin, accounting for 33.7 percent of buy orders and 21.8 percent of sell orders.

Qatari companies are expected to announce annual dividends in the next few weeks, and some buyers are positioning for them. Also, data in the last several weeks has confirmed that an embargo imposed on the country by other Arab states has done only modest damage to the economy and that growth has rebounded.

Real estate firm United Development, the second most heavily traded stock, surged 5.2 percent.

Aamal Co, which had risen 2.4 percent on Tuesday after announcing plans for an affiliate to build three local factories to produce copper wires, aluminium bars and drums for cables, added a further 3.8 percent and was the most active stock.

Saudi Arabia’s index edged up 0.1 percent on the back of petrochemical shares, which were boosted by Brent crude oil hitting a 2 1/2-year high of $69.29 a barrel overnight. Thirteen of the sector’s 14 stocks rose.

PetroRabigh, which has also been buoyed this week by news of the start-up of its Phase II expansion project, added 5.6 percent in heavy trade.

Dubai’s index edged down 0.1 percent. Second-tier real estate firm Deyaar, the most heavily traded stock, surged 3.5 percent.

But Union Properties fell 1.0 percent in active trade after saying it was in the final stage of selling its entire stake in Emicool, a district cooling service provider. It was not specific about how it would use proceeds of the sale, merely saying it would strengthen its focus on core operations and enter new sectors.

In Bahrain, Ithmaar Holding surged 6.5 percent after saying it had obtained approval from Bahrain’s central bank to list its shares in Dubai. Shares in Bahrain’s Khaleeji Commercial Bank jumped after they listed in Dubai last month.

Egypt’s index gained 0.2 percent as GB Auto surged 5.5 percent after saying Al Olayan Saudi Investment Company had bought 1.19 million shares of the company, bringing its stake to 5.05 percent.


* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 7,300 points.


* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 3,499 points.


* The index fell 0.3 percent to 4,580 points.


* The index rose 0.5 percent to 9,048 points.


* The index gained 0.2 percent to 15,193 points.


* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 6,525 points.


* The index rose 0.2 percent to 1,318 points.


* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 5,100 points. (Editing by Toby Chopra)

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