September 12, 2018 / 8:14 AM / 2 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly sluggish, keeps outperforming emerging markets

DUBAI, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets were generally sluggish in early trade on Wednesday but the region continued to outperform slumping emerging markets elsewhere in the world, as has been the case for most of the past two weeks.

The Saudi stock index was up 0.3 percent after 45 minutes of trade, outperforming a 0.3 percent drop in the MSCI emerging market index.

Almost all petrochemical shares were firm after Brent oil surged near $80 a barrel over night; top producer Saudi Basic Industries climbed 0.8 percent and Chemanol surged 3.9 percent.

MedGulf, which had jumped its 10 percent daily limit on Tuesday, added a further 6.7 percent to 16.22 riyals. Shareholders as of end-Wednesday will obtain tradeable rights to buy new shares at 10 riyals each.

Qatar was the strongest major Gulf market with its index adding 0.6 percent as Qatar International Islamic Bank rose 2.9 percent. Gaining stocks outnumbered losers by 27 to nine.

Dubai’s index slipped 0.6 percent as loss-making construction company Drake & Scull plunged its 10 percent daily limit to a record low of 0.405 dirham.

The company said shareholders would meet on Sept. 27 to decide whether to dissolve the company, under an article of United Arab Emirates company law requiring firms to vote on whether they should continue operating if their accumulated losses have reached half of issued share capital.

Abu Dhabi’s index fell 0.2 percent as Aldar Properties dropped 2.1 percent after saying it was spinning off its recurring-revenue assets worth 20 billion dirhams ($5.4 billion) into a new, fully owned subsidiary, which would help it raise capital more cheaply.

But Dana Gas rose 1.7 percent after Crescent Petroleum said it obtained approval to raise its stake in Dana to over 20 percent. As of early July, it owned 19.04 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data; its stake was diluted by the conversion of Dana’s convertible sukuk into equity. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

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