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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mixed after oil steadies – Reuters

* Saudi Arabia’s Jabal Omar surges again

* Insurance stocks also rally as AXA posts positive results

* Property firms support Qatar

* Egypt’s EFG Hermes rises after Qalaa Holdings deal

* Pioneers Holding falls as its Arab Diary bid topped

By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, Feb 22 (Reuters) – Gulf equity markets were narrowly
mixed on Sunday after oil prices stabilised, with low trading
volumes indicating that investors remained cautious.

Brent crude oil steadied just above $60 a barrel on
Friday as expectations for falling U.S. rig count numbers
outweighed concerns about oversupply.

Oil’s weakness earlier last week ended a rally across Gulf
stock markets, prompting investors to book profits and stay on
the sidelines.

On Sunday, the main Saudi stock index was flat with
a roughly equal split between gainers and losers. Petrochemicals
giant Saudi Basic Industries edged up 0.4 percent.

Mecca real estate developer Jabal Omar was the
main support, jumping 4.5 percent. The company, which uses the
Islamic calendar, reported a second consecutive profitable
quarter this month after at least five years of losses.

Makkah Construction and Development, which has a
10.1 percent stake in Jabal Omar, jumped 3.2 percent.

Insurance companies also outperformed. The sector’s index
rose 0.5 percent and AXA Cooperative Insurance Co
, which at the end of last week reported a 22.4 percent
increase in 2014 net profit, surged its daily 10 percent limit.

Retailer United Electronics added 0.8 percent
after the firm said it had launched a new store which would
boost first-quarter sales.


Markets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi edged down
0.5 percent each as most stocks declined in low-volume trade.

Qatar’s index edged up 0.2 percent on the back of
property firms Barwa Real Estate and Ezdan Holding
, up 2.5 and 0.7 percent respectively.

Qatari newspaper The Peninsula on Saturday quoted Economy
and Trade Minister Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim al-Thani as saying
Doha would spend $12.5 billion on housing and infrastructure in
the run-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Also, both companies have
yet to announce 2014 dividends.

Egypt’s bourse edged up 0.1 percent. Investment
bank EFG Hermes climbed 1.0 percent after Qalaa
Holdings hired it to advise on the possible sale of
Qalaa’s food businesses.

Meanwhile, investment firm Pioneers Holding fell
0.9 percent; last week, a subsidiary of Europe’s biggest dairy
group Lactalis raised its offer for Egypt’s Arab Dairy
to 65.75 Egyptian pounds per share, topping the latest bid from



* The index inched up 0.01 percent to 9,301 points.


* The index edged down 0.5 percent to 3,840 points.


* The index fell 0.5 percent to 4,647 points.


* The index edged up 0.2 percent to 12,525 points.


* The index added 0.1 percent to 9,495 points.


* The index edged down 0.6 percent to 6,602 points.


* The index slipped 0.1 percent to 6,634 points.


* The index climbed 0.1 percent to 1,461 points.

(Editing by Andrew Torchia)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mixed after oil steadies – Reuters}

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