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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi rises after prince reassures on crackdown, Gulf mostly sluggish
November 26, 2017 / 2:05 PM / 15 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi rises after prince reassures on crackdown, Gulf mostly sluggish

* Saudi’s Al Tayyar, its founder caught in probe, rebounds

* SABB Takaful surges after Saudi British Bank completes stake buy

* Banque Saudi Fransi little moved by prospect of fine

* Dubai’s Emaar Properties slips but development unit edges up

* GB Auto leaps to year-high in Egypt

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s stock market rose on Sunday after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reassured investors about the impact of a crackdown on corruption, while other Gulf bourses were sluggish.

The Saudi index added 0.8 percent. Prince Mohammed said in a New York Times interview that about 95 percent of about 200 businessmen and officials implicated in the probe were agreeing to financial settlements of the charges against them - a possible indication the probe, which has unsettled the stock market, could start to wind down.

Al Tayyar Travel, whose founder has been detained in the crackdown, rebounded 6.4 percent. After plunging in the initial days after the probe was announced, it has been recovering in the last few days.

Insurer SABB Takaful gained 3.2 percent after Saudi British Bank said it had completed the purchase of all of HSBC’s stake in SABB Takaful.

Saudi Airlines Catering climbed 1.2 percent after saying it had won a 501 million riyal ($136.5 million), five-year contract to supply inflight catering services to Saudi budget airline flynas.

Thursday’s announcement that the securities regulator would further ease requirements for foreign institutional investors in the stock market also buoyed the market.

Among other steps, the minimum value of assets under management needed for a foreign institution to qualify as an investor would fall to 1.875 billion riyals ($500 million) from 3.75 billion riyals.

Banque Saudi Fransi edged down 0.2 percent after the central bank said the bank faced an unspecified fine over irregularities in an employee incentive programme. The probe into the irregularities was already well-known and official action had been anticipated by investors.

In Abu Dhabi, the index edged down 0.1 percent but Manazel Real Estate, the most heavily traded stock, gained 1.9 percent after saying plans were underway to expand into Middle East and North African markets, including Saudi Arabia, because of rising demand for middle-income housing. It gave no details.

Dubai’s index fell 0.3 percent in thin trade as Emaar Properties pulled back 0.8 percent. Its unit Emaar Development, which performed weakly on its debut last week, rose 0.5 percent.

In Kuwait, logistics firm Agility gained 3.0 percent after its 80.5 percent-owned unit Metal and Recycling Co reported quarterly profit more than doubled from a year earlier to 171,524 dinars ($570,000) as sales rose 15 percent.

Egypt’s index climbed 0.8 percent. GB Auto rose sharply for a second straight day, jumping 9.9 percent to 3.65 Egyptian pounds and surpassing this year’s previous peak of 3.52 pounds, hit in January.

HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index rose 0.8 percent to 6,934 points.

DUBAI

* The index fell 0.3 percent to 3,449 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 4,282 points.

QATAR

* The index rose 0.2 percent to 7,758 points.

EGYPT

* The index climbed 0.8 percent to 14,223 points.

KUWAIT

* The index gained 0.3 percent to 6,257 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index edged up 0.04 percent to 1,277 points.

OMAN

* The index added 0.5 percent to 5,111 points. (Editing by Edmund Blair)

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