April 4, 2018 / 1:43 PM / 16 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Money flows back into Saudi, Emaar keeps falling in Dubai

* Saudi rebounds after profit-taking followed index decision

* Emaar Properties hits new two-year low

* Kuwait falls for four days after market reorganisation

* QNB supports Qatar as most financials weak

* Egypt’s Global Telecom drags down sector again

By Aziz El Yaakoubi

DUBAI, April 4 (Reuters) - Buyers returned to the Saudi Arabian stock market on Wednesday as blue chips attracted interest again after several days of profit-taking that followed FTSE Russell’s decision to upgrade Riyadh to emerging market status.

The Saudi index was up 0.9 percent as the energy and banking sectors rose: PetroRabigh climbed 2.0 percent, Saudi Arabian Refineries jumped 3.0 percent and mining group Ma’aden gained 1.7 percent. Al Rajhi Bank added 1.0 percent.

Loss-making Saudi Arabian home furnishings maker Al Sorayai Trading surged 7.3 percent, rising in unusually heavy trade for a fourth straight day. The company said chief executive Waiel bin Saad al-Rashid had resigned for personal reasons, and a replacement would be announced later.

The Qatari index was 0.2 percent lower, dragged down by financials: Masraf al Rayan, Qatar’s biggest Islamic bank, was down 0.3 percent although the largest conventional bank, Qatar National Bank, edged up 0.5 percent.

QNB’s CEO told Reuters the bank aimed to increase its profit by 5-8 percent this year and loans and investments by 10-12 percent, helped by expansion into faster-growing southeast Asian markets.

Dubai’s index dropped 0.3 percent as Emaar Properties fell 0.5 percent, hitting a new two-year closing low, on concern about the sluggish outlook for the local real estate market.

But builder Drake & Scull, which had been trading at four-month lows, rebounded 1.2 percent.

In Kuwait, the market has been soft since authorities divided it into three on Sunday as part of reforms designed to boost liquidity and attract more foreign money: the premier market, the main market and the auction market. The changes temporarily unsettled some investors and disrupted normal trading patterns, some fund managers said.

The index for the premier market, home to the largest and most liquid companies, fell for the fourth straight session and was down 0.8 percent.

Egypt’s stock index edged up 0.1 percent despite heavy losses in the telecommunications sector, which fell for a second day in a row after Amsterdam-based Veon, which owns about 57 percent of Global Telecom, withdrew its offer to buy the company’s remaining shares because the offer had not obtained Egyptian regulatory approvals.

Global Telecom fell 7.8 percent after plunging 16 percent on Tuesday, dragging down the whole sector including Orascom Telecom and Telecom Egypt, which fell 7.1 percent and 3.6 percent respectively.

But real estate developer Talaat Mostafa jumped 8.7 percent in heavy trade, reaching 14.10 Egyptian pounds, its highest level since the month that company was listed in November 2007. The stock, which has gained nearly 25 percent this week, is closing in on its record high of 15.12 pounds.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index rose 0.9 percent to 7,872 points.

DUBAI

* The index dropped 0.3 percent to 3,091 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index rose 0.5 percent to 4,609 points.

QATAR

* The index edged down 0.2 percent to 8,708 points.

EGYPT

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 17,510 points.

KUWAIT

* The index fell 0.8 percent to 4,798 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index lost 0.6 percent to 1,283 points.

OMAN

* The index rose 0.4 percent to 4,795 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia and Alison Williams)

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