MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar, Saudi Arabia and #Egypt climb, UAE mkts dip again

Banks, property developers lift Qatar’s bourse
* Pull-back in UAE markets continues
* But Takaful Emarat rises after forecasting Q1, full-year profit
* Most Saudi insurers up after merger report
* Property developer TMG lifts Egypt’s bourse
By Olzhas Auyezov
DUBAI, April 15 (Reuters) – Qatar’s bourse rallied on Tuesday after a two-day pull-back and Saudi Arabia’s market continued to firm after positive first-quarter results, while bourses in the United Arab Emirates succumbed to renewed profit-taking.
Qatar’s index rose 1.5 percent with property names leading the turnover. Shares in United Development added 2.4 percent and Barwa Real Estate gained 1.4 percent.
Qatar National Bank, however, contributed most to the increase, gaining 2.6 percent. The lender’s shares are very likely to be included in the MSCI emerging markets index at the end of May along with some other stocks from Qatar and the UAE.
But exchange data shows foreigners have already invested heavily in QNB and some analysts believe the MSCI upgrade will be followed by profit-taking.
Another Qatari lender, Ahli Bank, on Tuesday became the first local bank to report its first-quarter earnings. The bank made a net profit of 150.8 million riyals ($41.4 million) versus 135.1 million riyals a year earlier. The figure was slightly higher than QNB’s forecast of 148.6 million riyals, and Ahli Bank’s shares rose 3.3 percent.
UAE markets edged higher after opening but then changed direction. Abu Dhabi’s bourse, which went up 0.5 percent shortly after the opening, ended the day down 1.0 percent, largely because Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Etisalat shed 3.7 and 0.9 percent respectively.
Dubai’s main index slid 1.6 percent under the weight of lenders Emirates NBD, which was down 5.1 percent, and Dubai Islamic Bank, which slipped 2.5 percent.
“It might be a sort of slight correction that was long awaited and is healthy for the market,” said Ali Adou, portfolio manager at The National Investor.
One of the few Dubai stocks that rose was Islamic insurer Takaful Emarat. The stock added 3.4 percent after the company’s chief executive told Reuters that it expected to post a profit for the first quarter of this year and an annual profit in 2014 for the first time since it was founded in 2008.
Saudi Arabia’s main index rose 0.6 percent, led by the insurance sector which gained 1.8 percent after Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported, citing an anonymous source, that four local insurance companies were in talks to merge – consolidation that could benefit the industry.
The report did not name the companies. Twenty-six out of 34 listed Saudi insurers were up on Tuesday.
Most other sectors also gained as more companies released first-quarter results. Samba Financial Group, which reported a net profit of 1.24 billion riyals ($331 million), gained 1.7 percent. Analysts surveyed by Reuters had on average forecast a profit of 1.14 billion riyals.
Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma’aden), however, slid 0.8 percent after its quarterly profit fell 48 percent to 125.2 million riyals, well below the forecast of Bakheet Investment Group, which had forecast 213.1 million riyals.
Egypt’s bourse continued to recover from heavy profit-taking seen in late March and early April, rising 1.8 percent.
Property developer Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG) led the gains, jumping 9.9 percent after it announced its first-ever cash dividend. TMG said on Tuesday it would distribute a cash dividend of around 0.145 pounds per share after profits grew in 2013.
Another developer, SODIC, whose shares are not included in the main index, added 4.2 percent after signing a dispute settlement with Egypt’s government, agreeing to pay 900 million Egyptian pounds ($129 million) over seven years after a revaluation of its Eastown scheme in Cairo.
* The index fell 1.6 percent to 4,686 points.
* The index slid 1.0 percent to 5,086 points.
* The index rose 1.5 percent to 12,322 points.
* The index climbed 0.6 percent to 9,505 points.
* The index added 1.8 percent to 8,027 points.
* The index gained 0.3 percent to 7,514 points.
* The index edged down 0.2 percent to 1,376 points. ($1 = 3.6405 Qatar Riyals) (Editing by Andrew Torchia)



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