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Saudi, Kuwait climb again as UAE, Qatar underperform

epa05741356 Traders observe at the Kuwait Stock Exchange, Kuwait city, Kuwait, 22 January 2017. The price index of Boursa Kuwait ended the trading session on 22 January 2017 with the highest levels in 22 months.  EPA/RAED QUTENA


DUBAI / Reuters

Middle East stock markets were mixed on Sunday as uptrends in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait continued to divert regional investors’ money away from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
The Saudi index, which climbed 3.8 percent last week, rose a further 0.7 percent. Miner Ma’aden jumped 5.3 percent after issuing a statement describing progress in expanding its phosphate and bauxite operations.
Builder Khodari climbed 1.5 percent and Nama Chemicals jumped by its 10 percent daily limit for a second straight day after announcing the outline of a plan to recover from accumulated losses that exceeded 75 percent of its capital. The plan includes eventually increasing capital to finance production of speciality chemical products and boost capacity, and the sale of assets of an investment affiliate.
The Kuwaiti index added 1.3 percent to touch a fresh 26-month high in a broad-based climb and heavy volumes, bringing its rise this month to nearly 21 percent.
On Monday, the government is to announce details of its long-term economic development plan, which could help the stock market if it gives more impetus to big infrastructure projects. Telecommunications firm Viva Kuwait fell 2.2 percent, however, after reporting a 6.8 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit to 10.8 million dinars ($35 million); SICO Bahrain had forecast 9.44 million dinars.
Dubai’s index slipped 1 percent as GFH Financial , the most heavily traded stock, plunged by its 10 percent daily limit. The stock, a speculative favourite of local investors, has been very volatile in the past week.
Abu Dhabi dropped 0.8 percent. Another speculative stock, International Fish Farming (Asmak), sank 10 percent to 2.92 dirhams.
It had soared from 1.90 dirhams at the end of last month to a peak of 4.65 dirhams, partly because of a rumour that a well-known Abu Dhabi individual investor had bought a strategic stake in the company. But in mid-January, an Asmak spokesman told Reuters that the rumour was false, and the stock has been falling back since then. Qatar’s index lost 1 percent because of pullbacks by a few major banks; Qatar National Bank slid 1.4 percent and Masraf Al Rayan lost 3.4 percent.
Egypt’s index, which had climbed 1.6 percent on Thursday in response to the success of the government’s international bond sale, gained 0.6 percent.
Orascom Telecom, the most heavily traded stock, bounced 8 percent after underperforming the market last week.

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