• STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Abu Dhabi hits 5-week high, Dubai falls


    1001 GMT - Banks and telecoms lift Abu Dhabi's index <.ADI> to a five-week high as bullish global sentiment spurs buying locally.
    Emirates Telecommunications Corp <ETEL.AD> (Etisalat) rises 1 percent, clawing back most of Sunday's decline, which was prompted by an Indian court ruling. [ID:nDEL181043]
    First Gulf Bank <FGB.AD> and National Bank of Abu Dhabi <NBAD.AD> rise 5.3 and 3.1 percent respectively on thin volumes, with 703,000 shares changing hands combined. The index climbs 1.1 percent to 2,756 points.
    "These volumes are so low so that you can't gauge anything from the share movement -- it could be one or two investors adjusting their portfolios for reasons we don't know about," says Ayman el-Saheb, Darahem Financial Brokerage director of operations.
    Dubai's benchmark <.DFMGI> declines for the first session in three, slipping 0.8 percent to 1,828 points as traders cash in gains from Sunday's 5.2 percent surge, its biggest rise for more than five months.
    Losers outnumber gainers 16 to three, with Dubai Financial Market <DFM.DU> slipping 2.3 percent and Arabtec <ARTC.DU> sliding 2.5 percent. Volumes drop by a third from the day before.
    "There was no reason for Dubai to go up so much on Sunday apart from the rise on U.S. markets last week and oil hitting $68 a barrel," says Saheb.
    "So investors were wary and decided to book profits before Western markets opened again today."

    0941 GMT - Qatar's index <.QSI> rises to a six-week closing high, bolstered by further gains in Qatar Gas Transport Co <QGTS.QA> (Nakilat).
    The latter climbs 3.8 percent and accounts for nearly 40 percent of all shares traded on the index. It is up 17 percent in a week.
    The benchmark climbs 0.8 percent to 6,694 points. Bahrain's measure <.BAX> rises 0.4 percent to 1,494 points.

    0931 GMT - Kuwait Projects Co <KPRO.KW> tumbles, a day after the death of a financier linked to a U.S. fraud probe. [ID:nLQ671358]
    The firm drops 5.5 percent following a late slump. Kuwait's index <.KWSE> ends lower for the first session in three as financial stocks retreat, slipping 0.5 percent to 7,708 points
    Kuwait Finance House <KFIN.KW> falls 1.6 percent as traders book profits from Sunday's 8.8 percent rise, its largest daily gain since March 4.
    Boubyan Bank <BOUK.KW> slips 5 percent, taking its losses to 18.5 percent since July 16. On July 22, National Bank of Kuwait <NBKK.KW> bought a 13.2 percent stake in Boubyan Bank <BOUK.KW> for $295 million in an auction. [ID:nLM480903]
    "Retail investors were speculating on the stock before the auction and they're selling now it's over," says Talal al-Loghani, vice-president for Gulf equity markets at Kuwait Finance and Investment Co.
    NBK climbs 3.3 percent.

    0901 GMT - Oman Cement <OCCO.OM> surges after its second-quarter profit more than doubles, lifting Oman's index <.MSI> to a seven-month high. [ID:nLR79262]
    Oman Cement jumps 10 percent and Renaissance Services <RSC.OM> and Oman International Bank <OIB.OM> each add 2.5 percent.
    The index climbs 0.9 percent to 5,961 points, its highest finish since Dec. 18 last year.
    "The market's performance for the rest of the week will depend on oil prices and how other Gulf exchanges fare," says Adel Nasr, United Securities brokerage manager.
    "I believe second-quarter results will be better than expected and the market should continue to head towards 6,200 points."
    Oil prices are up 0.9 percent at $68.66 a barrel at 0912 GMT, retreating slightly from an intraday high. [O/R] ---------------------------------------------------------------

    0812 GMT - Saudi Telecom Co <7010.SE> (STC) falls for the third session in four since posting a 22-percent drop in second-quarter profit. [ID:nLL129564]
    The stock is down 0.5 percent, taking its losses to 6.4 percent over this period.
    "Since STC acquired stakes in Oger Telecom and Maxis in Malaysia, its profits have become more volatile, with exchange rate fluctuations affecting earnings and without the full benefit of international expansion being realised," says Sohail Hayyan, SAIB BNP Paribas Asset Management Co senior fund manager.
    "It is also facing tough competition domestically, with Mobily (Etihad Etisalat <7020.SE>) recording strong growth -- STC has a complex structure, but Mobily is just focused on the mobile and broadband segments in Saudi Arabia."
    Zain KSA <7030.SE> is providing further competition in the mobile phone sector, while Etihad Atheeb Telecommunications <7040.SE> is eating into STC's fixed line and DSL services after ending its monopoly last month, Hayyan says. Mobily posted a 50 percent rise in second-quarter net profit, but Zain Saudi Arabia posted a 291 percent rise in its net loss during the second-quarter.
    "Although there is growth in the market in the long term, the market is very competitive given the existence of three mobile operators," says Hayyan.
    "Mobile market segment penetration has reached more than 140 percent and the focus now is on differentiation and quality as well as broadband segment."
    Saudi Arabia's index <.TASI> rises 0.3 percent to 5,833 points, boosted by Saudi Basic Industries Corp <2010.SE> (SABIC), which climbs 1.1 percent.

    0702 GMT - Doha Bank <DOBK.QA> lifts Qatar's index <.QSI> in early trading as stocks are mixed following a sharp rise in the previous session.
    Doha Bank climbs 2.2 percent to 41.50, taking its gains to 10.9 percent since it posted a 3.6 percent rise in quarterly profit on July 21. [ID:nLL509665]
    On Wednesday, HC Research raised its price target for the lender to 64.60 riyals from 63.77 riyals, keeping a buy recommendation.
    Qatar Gas Transport Co <QGTS.QA> (Nakilat) is the most active stock, accounting for a third of all shares changing hands on the index and it rises 2.6 percent. It has gained 15.3 percent over the past week.
    The benchmark rises 0.4 percent to 6,663 points, building on Sunday's four-week closing high as investors worldwide buy into equities on expectations the global economy is emerging from recession. [MKTS/GLOB]
    Al Khaliji Bank <KCBK.QA> slips 1.2 percent and Industries Qatar <IQCD.QA> loses 0.5 percent.

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