August 26, 2018 / 1:27 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi outperforms as markets reopen after Eid holidays

* Markets closed for a week for Eid Al Adha

* Petrochemicals surge after oil price rise

* But Saudi trading volume is lowest this year

* Other bourses benefit little from emerging market recovery

* Dubai’s Emirates NBD continues rebound after slide on Turkey

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s stock market outperformed by a large margin on Sunday, led by petrochemical stocks, as Middle Eastern bourses reopened after a one-week break for the Muslim festival of Eid Al Adha.

The Saudi stock index rose 1.4 percent, although trading volume was the lowest this year as some individual investors had not yet returned from holidays. Gainers outnumbered losers by 146 to 23.

The market has been buoyed this year by inflows of foreign funds in anticipation of Riyadh joining emerging market indexes next year. Recent exchange data indicates those inflows have slowed but not halted as stock valuations have risen.

Petrochemical makers were particularly strong after the Brent oil price rebounded above $75.0 a barrel last week. The top petrochemical firm, Saudi Basic Industries , added 1.8 percent and Saudi Kayan rose 3.3 percent.

Arabian Shield Cooperative Insurance, which had been trading near 20-month lows, surged 2.5 percent after saying state utility National Water Co had engaged it to provide health insurance services to its employees for a year, a contract worth 104.5 million riyals ($27.9 million).

Other regional stock markets were much more subdued, even though the MSCI emerging market index climbed 2.7 percent last week as Turkish markets stabilised after plunging because of the country’s currency crisis.

Dubai’s index gained 0.4 percent as top bank Emirates NBD, which had been sliding because of its exposure to Turkey through an acquisition currently underway, rebounded for a second straight trading day, adding 2.0 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, the index added 0.5 percent after Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank jumped in the final minutes of trade to close 2.3 percent higher. United Arab Bank soared 13.2 percent but trading volume was very low.

Qatar’s index rose in early trade but closed 0.03 percent lower as real estate firm Ezdan, the most heavily traded stock, sank 3.3 percent.

SAUDI ARABIA * The index added 1.4 percent to 7,979 points.

DUBAI * The index rose 0.4 percent to 2,826 points.

ABU DHABI * The index gained 0.5 percent to 4,910 points.

QATAR * The index edged down 0.03 percent to 9,445 points.

KUWAIT * The index fell 0.6 percent to 5,347 points.

BAHRAIN * The index gained 0.3 percent to 1,352 points.

OMAN * The index dropped 0.5 percent to 4,367 points.

EGYPT * The index edged down 0.2 percent to 15,239 points. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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