January 29, 2018 / 8:33 AM / 3 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges up as Kingdom continues rebound, rest of Gulf sluggish

DUBAI, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s stock market rose in early trade on Monday as investment firm Kingdom Holding continued rebounding after its owner Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was released from custody, while other Gulf markets were sluggish.

The Saudi index gained 0.5 percent in the first hour as Kingdom added 4.8 percent to 10.52 riyals in heavy volumes, rising above the 10.28 riyal level where it traded before Prince Alwaleed was detained in a corruption probe last November.

During Prince Alwaleed’s detention, the Saudi stock index rose over 8 percent. Nevertheless, Kingdom’s rebound was seen as a vote of confidence in the company. Saudi officials said the prince would keep control of Kingdom after his release.

Rising Saudi stocks outnumbered losers by 102 to 68. Petrochemical firm Sipchem gained 2.4 percent after it estimated fourth-quarter net profit jumped to 164.4 million riyals ($43.8 million) from 31.9 million riyals, beating SICO Bahrain’s forecast of 154 million riyals and NCB Capital’s 135 million riyals.

Top petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries, which dropped 2.8 percent on Sunday after weak quarterly earnings, rebounded 1.0 percent.

But fashion retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co, which had jumped 6.8 percent on Sunday after some of its major shareholders were released in the broad corruption probe, fell back 0.7 percent.

Dubai’s index was flat and Abu Dhabi edged down 0.2 percent as Abu Dhabi National Energy retreated 3.5 percent.

Qatar’s index slipped 0.4 percent as drilling rig provider Gulf International Services, which had climbed 3.6 percent on Sunday in heavy trade, pulled back 1.8 percent. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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