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| 15 February, 2017

Gulf mostly firm, Egypt slips after breaking technical support

Image used for illustrative purpose. Traders work at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Traders work at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo.

Reuters/Asmaa Waguih


By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Most Gulf stock markets rose on Wednesday on the back of strong global equity prices, while Egypt's bourse continued to pull back on profit-taking, breaking technical support.

The Saudi index added 0.6 percent as real estate developer Dar Al Arkan , the most heavily traded stock, climbed 2.5 percent. Utility Saudi Electric rose 2.7 percent.

Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co rose 1.1 percent despite saying its board had proposed a cash dividend of 1 riyal per share for the second half of 2016, down from 3 riyals a year earlier.

Dubai's index fell 0.2 percent as builder Arabtec , the most heavily traded stock, closed 5.6 percent lower at 1.02 dirhams. However, the stock bounced from an early low of 0.97 dirham.

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It had plunged below its 10 percent daily limit on the two previous days after the company reported a wider fourth-quarter loss and said its board was seeking shareholder approval for a 1.5 billion dirham rights issue.

Emaar Properties closed 0.3 percent higher, well off its intra-day high, after its fourth-quarter net profit came in at the high end of expectations. It reported a profit of 1.61 billion dirhams, up from 1.03 billion in the same period of 2015, while revenues were up 16 percent.

SICO Bahrain had forecast Emaar would make a quarterly profit of 1.32 billion dirhams while EFG Hermes had forecast 1.64 billion. But the profit was boosted by a write-back of a 301 million provision taken a year before for the costs of a fire at an Emaar hotel.

Dubai Financial Market , which has been strong in unusually high volume for the past few days, jumped 4.1 percent.

In neighbouring Abu Dhabi, the index climbed 0.5 percent because of strength in National Bank of Abu Dhabi , which rose 2.5 percent, and First Gulf Bank , which gained 2.3 percent. The two banks will merge on April 1.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank fell 0.8 percent after posting a 4.7-percent fall in fourth quarter profit, which was in line with a forecast by EFG Hermes.

The Egyptian index fell 0.4 percent to 12,448 points, confirming a break below technical support at its early February low of 12,578 points. This triggered a double top formed by the highs of January and February and pointing down to about 11,500 points.

The economic picture appears to be improving in Egypt, with yields falling as foreign portfolio investors return to Egyptian fixed income, but fund managers said the market was vulnerable to profit-taking after its bull run since November.

Egyptian Chemical Industries jumped 7.6 percent after saying its capital increase had been 87.63 percent subscribed.



WEDNESDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS



SAUDI ARABIA



* The index added 0.6 percent to 7,074 points.



DUBAI



* The index fell 0.2 percent to 3,645 points.



ABU DHABI



* The index added 0.5 percent to 4,597 points.



QATAR



* The index rose 0.6 percent to 10,732 points.



EGYPT



* The index fell 0.5 percent to 12,445 points.



KUWAIT



* The index gained 0.9 percent to 6,815 points.



OMAN



* The index rose 0.2 percent to 5,831 points.



BAHRAIN



* The index climbed 1.0 percent to 1,322 points. (Editing by Louise Ireland) ((andrew.torchia@thomsonreuters.com)(+9715 6681 7277)(Reuters Messaging: andrew.torchia.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))