April 10, 2018 / 2:19 PM / 10 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar attracts more buyers, rest of Gulf mixed

* Hike in foreign ownership ceilings lifts Qatar

* But regionally, many investors waiting for Q1 earnings

* TAQA surges further in Abu Dhabi

* Opposite directions for Dubai’s Emaar Properties, Development

* Egypt rises sharply after two-day holiday

By Aziz El Yaakoubi

DUBAI, April 10 (Reuters) - Money flowed into Qatar’s stock market for a second straight day on Tuesday after several blue-chip firms raised foreign ownership limits, while other Gulf markets were mixed.

The Qatar index rose 0.8 percent after a 1.8 percent gain on Monday. Qatar Electricity and Water Co was up 2.0 percent, Industries Qatar was 2.2 percent higher while Qatar Islamic Bank rose 2.9 percent.

The three companies hiked their foreign ownership ceilings to 49 percent from 25 percent on Monday. Actual foreign ownership levels are far below 25 percent, but the changes should increase the stocks’ weightings on emerging market indexes, and some bankers believe the government may be preparing to privatise the companies further.

Qatar National Bank, the region’s biggest bank by assets, climbed 1.5 percent. After the market closed, the lender reported a 7 percent increase in first-quarter net profit, propelled by a double-digit jump in loan growth despite the embargo imposed by other Gulf states on Qatar.

However, other banks in Doha fell, including Masraf al-Rayan and Al Ahli Bank, which fell 1.0 percent and 2.1 percent respectively.

The Saudi stock index edged down 0.3 percent as many shares in the energy and petrochemical sectors fell back. National Petrochemal lost 1.8 percent and Advanced Petrochemical fell 2.6 percent, although Saudi Kayan rose 0.4 percent.

Al Rajhi Bank, one of the lenders that has attracted heavy foreign interest this year, fell back 0.8 percent.

“Announcements of big companies’ earnings will start by next week, and we may see more movement then,” said Iyad Ghulam, senior analyst at Riyadh’s NCB Capital.

The Dubai market was helped by giant developer Emaar Properties, which gained 1.3 percent, but was held back by its subsidiary Emaar Development, which fell 2.0 percent. The Dubai index edged up 0.3 percent.

Abu Dhabi’s index rose 1.0 percent as Abu Dhabi National Energy jumped 5.4 percent in heavy trade, building on a three-week uptrend.

But Dana Gas, the most heavily traded stock, lost 1.1 percent, continuing a slide after it said on Sunday that it had received a new injunction from the English High Court restricting its ability to pay dividends or increase its debt.

Dana said it would challenge the order, which was the result of its dispute with creditors over whether it must redeem $700 million of Islamic bonds.

Egypt’s index rose 1.7 percent as the market reopened after a two-day holiday. Global Telecom, which led the telecommunications sector down last week after a buyout offer was cancelled, lost another 1.1 percent, but other firms in the sector recovered; Orascom Telecom and Telecom Egypt rose 1.2 percent and 2.3 percent.


* The index edged down 0.3 percent to 7,951 points.


* The index was up 0.3 percent to 3,090 points.


* The index rose 1.0 percent to 4,712 points.


* The index climbed 0.8 percent to 9,007 points.


* The index gained 1.7 percent to 17,697 points.


* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 4,789 points.


* The index edged up 0.04 percent to 1,288 points.


* The index fell 0.8 percent to 4,787 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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