November 9, 2017 / 2:56 PM / in a year

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf rebounds a bit after slide due to Saudi graft inquiry

* Saudi’s Dar Al Arkan soars after earnings

* Purge-linked stocks regain some strength

* Dubai real estate developers rebound

* Abu Dhabi’s TAQA sinks after reporting quarterly loss

* Qalaa Holdings jumps; sells stake in Dice Sport

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets rebounded slightly on Thursday after a jittery week in which most dropped because of concern about Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption purge, which could reduce Saudi fund flows to the region.

The Saudi stock index spent most of the day lower before closing 0.3 percent higher. Similar trading patterns were seen every day this week after authorities announced the arrest of dozens of senior officials and businessmen in the investigation and froze over 1,700 domestic bank accounts.

Wealthy Saudi individuals, fearful that they could be implicated in the probe, have been dumping stocks to raise cash, in some cases intending to move the money out of the country, fund managers said.

This has pushed the market down in intra-day trade but state-linked funds have bought stocks in order to prevent a panic, pushing the market back up towards the close.

Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners by 131 to 42 on Thursday. Real estate developer Dar Al Arkan, the most heavily traded stock, jumped its 10 percent daily limit in its heaviest trade since July after reporting third-quarter net profit almost doubled from a year ago to 209.6 million riyals ($55.9 million), as sales more than doubled.

In a sign that the impact of the corruption crackdown might be fading, stocks in companies related to people implicated in it regained some strength.

Al Tayyar Travel, whose founder Nasser bin Aqeel al-Tayyar has been arrested, rose 2.7 percent after plunging 22 percent in the previous three days.

Red Sea International, whose chairman Amr al-Dabbagh was detained, gained 0.6 percent. Kingdom Holding , the investment vehicle of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was also detained, rebounded 1.2 percent.

Saudi Ceramic Co plunged 6.7 percent after reporting a third-quarter net loss of 39.2 million riyals versus a loss of 46.9 million riyals a year ago.

Most other Gulf bourses rose after slipping this week because of fears the probe would prompt wealthy Saudis to pull money out of local stock and real estate markets.

“Oil prices are the main reason for the rebound - oil is close to $65 a barrel and could hit $70, which is good for the whole region,” said Vijay Valecha, chief market analyst at Century Financial Brokers in the UAE.

Dubai’s index gained 1.0 percent as real estate developers, which sank earlier this week, recovered. Emaar Properties added 1.3 percent and DAMAC Properties gained 5.0 percent.

Amusement park operator DXB Entertainments rose 2.2 percent after it said it would obtain a subordinated loan of 700 million dirhams ($191 million) from majority shareholder Meraas.

Abu Dhabi’s index edged up 0.2 percent but Abu Dhabi National Energy Co sank 3.1 percent after reporting a third-quarter loss attributable to shareholders of 194 million dirhams ($52.9 million) versus a year-ago loss of 524 million dirhams. In the second quarter, it had posted a tiny profit.

Egypt gained 1.0 percent. Investment firm Qalaa Holdings surged 7.3 percent in its heaviest volume since it listed in 2009. The company said it had sold its entire stake in Dice Sport & Casual Wear for about 300 million Egyptian pounds ($17.0 million).


* The index closed 0.3 percent higher at 6,954 points.


* The index rose 1.0 percent to 3,450 points.


* The index edged up 0.2 percent to 4,376 points.


* The index climbed 0.4 percent to 7,886 points.


* The index gained 1.0 percent to 14,350 points.


* The index rose 1.3 percent to 6,258 points.


* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 1,268 points.


* The index gained 0.5 percent to 5,055 points. (Editing by William Maclean)

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