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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi sags on profit taking, Egypt conquers 8-yr high as currency weakens

Mon 21st November, 2016 2:06pm
* Saudi sags in third session of profit-taking * Banks main losers, petchems weak despite bounce in crude * Abu Dhabi banks recover following denial of merger talks * Shuaa Capital surges as new stakeholder seen as positive * Egypt hits another 8-yr high as currency weakens By Celine Aswad DUBAI, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf diverged on Monday with Saudi Arabia's index cooling for a third session as investors book profits on lofty prices while Abu Dhabi rebounded slightly. Egypt hit yet another 8-year high as foreign investors continued to reprice equities as the local currency weakened against the U.S. dollar. Riyadh's main index .TASI fell 1.1 percent in modest trade, with roughly 70 percent of the traded shares declining. It is now down 2.3 percent over the past three sessions but is still up 14.9 percent over the last 30 days. Banking shares, which have been the chief gainers over the past four weeks, were hard hit with all but two of the listed lenders closing lower. Blue-chip Samba Financial Group 1090.SE lost 4.4 percent to 21.90 riyals and Saudi British Bank 1060.SE fell 4.7 percent. Shares in both lenders are now trading close to the expected fair price of analysts, according to Thomson Reuters data, a sign that long term value-traders will have little impetus to add further shares to their portfolios. "For over a month the stock market has been performing in a silo, disconnected from the global environment even somewhat dislocated from the movement in crude oil prices," said a Riyadh-based portfolio manager. Over the past month, Brent oil LCOc1 is down 9.5 percent while the petrochemical sector .TPISI is up 8.3 percent. On Monday, however, despite a bounce in crude oil prices over $47 a barrel the majority of the listed oil-derivative shares fell. National Petrochemical Co 2002.SE fell 2.9 percent. Abu Dhabi's index .ADI rose 0.2 percent after falling 1.7 percent on Sunday. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank ADCB.AD climbed 0.3 percent and Union National Bank added 0.7 percent. On Sunday, UNB dropped 5.2 percent and ADCB lost 2.7 percent after both lenders issued separate statements denying last week's Bloomberg report that they were involved in merger talks. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank ADIB.AD ended flat after pulling back 0.8 percent on Sunday after the lender said that it has no plans to merge with Alhilal Bank. Dubai's Shuaa Capital SHUA.DU jumped 10.8 percent, taking its gains over the last two session to 19.1 percent as investors were optimistic that its new shareholder, Abu Dhabi Financial Group, will unlock value for the investment firm. Shares in Shuaa are now trading at roughly 2.5 times the acquisition price of 0.705 dirham a share. Shares in other second-tier companies, usually traded by local traders, also climbed, helping carry Dubai's main index .DFMGI 0.1 percent higher. Union Properties UPRO.DU jumped 9.8 percent. EGYPT DEFIANT Cairo's index of the most active shares .EGX30 gained 2.4 percent taking the index to yet another 8-year high in heavy trade. Foreign funds, which have been aggressive buyers of Egyptian blue chips since the currency was floated on Nov. 3, were net buyers on Monday, bourse data showed. The Egyptian pound EGP= weakend on Monday, trading between 17.30 to 17.70 against the dollar. The further the pound falls the cheaper local currency denominated shares are for foreign buyers. Exotic Partners, a Dubai-based investment firm, said in a note that there has been a shift in trading strategy when picking Egyptian equities, and analysts are now favouring those shares with "distressed valuations" over the banks, U.S dollar biased stocks and real estate related shares. Some of their top picks include Telecom Egypt ETEL.CA , Palm Hills Development PHDC.CA , Egypt Kuwait Holding EKHO.CA and Oriental Weavers ORWE.CA . Shares in all those stocks closed higher on Monday with , except Egypt Kuwait Holding which fell back 5.0 percent on profit taking. The index has now risen 35.4 percent since the currency float and is up 64.8 percent year-to-date. MONDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS SAUDI ARABIA * The index .TASI lost 1.1 percent to 6,497 points. DUBAI * The index .DFMGI added 0.1 percent to 3,306 points. ABU DHABI * The index .ADI rose 0.2 percent to 4,230 points. EGYPT * The index .EGX30 gained 2.4 percent to 11,543 points. QATAR * The index .QSI added 0.02 percent to 9,783 points. KUWAIT * The index .KSWE edged up 0.2 percent to 5,518 points. OMAN * The index .MSI edged down 0.5 percent to 5,496 points. BAHRAIN * The index .BAX added 0.9 percent to 1,192 points. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirham) <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Emerging markets stocks Frontier stocks Gulf stocks, emerging index ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> (Editing by Alison Williams) ((; +9715 62247653; Reuters Messaging: Keywords: MIDEAST STOCKS/

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