August 23, 2017 / 8:42 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-REITs, Al Rajhi continue rise in Saudi, region mostly quiet

DUBAI, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Shares in real estate investment trusts and a major bank in Saudi Arabia were up on Wednesday morning while most equity markets in the region moved little.

The Riyadh index rose 0.3 percent as Al Maather REIT , which listed on Tuesday, surged its 10 percent limit for a second straight day. Al Jazira Mawten REIT gained 2.2 percent and Taleem REIT rose 1.3 percent.

Shares in REITs have been heavily traded since the start of the week as local investors have been attracted by the sudden surge in activity.

“The trend is your friend - retail investors are just piling into shares because of headline news, as there is a lack of news in any other sector,” said a Jeddah-based broker.

Al Rajhi added 0.9 percent after half an hour of trade to 66.40 riyals. Shares in the lender have been strong since the start of this month and are up almost 8 percent; the stock has an average fair value of 70.32 riyals with an expected dividend yield of 4.17 percent in 2017 and 4.60 percent for 2018, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Saudi Indian Co for Cooperative Insurance (Wafa) rose 0.4 percent after saying it had received “temporary and conditional” approval from the central bank to sell some of its professional liability insurance policies.

Shares of Wafa had suffered heavy losses since Sunday when the company, along with three other insurers, was slapped by the central bank with a ban to sell motor vehicle policies because of improper practices.

Dubai’s index was flat as Emaar Properties gained 0.8 percent but GFH Financial, the most traded share, lost 2.7 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, the index edged down 0.2 percent, weighed down by declines in blue chips; telecommunications operator Etisalat fell 0.3 percent and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank lost 0.7 percent.

Qatar’s index fell 0.3 percent in very thin trade; Qatar Investors Group was down 1.7 percent. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia, editing by Louise Heaven)

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