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Mon 1 Aug 2011 10:38 AM

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Saudi petchems lift index; banks attractive

UAE property stocks lift bourses on back of positive sentiment in global markets

Saudi petchems lift index; banks attractive
stock market

Saudi Arabia's petrochemical stocks rallied, pushing the index up after concerns on a possible US debt default were put to rest.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), the world's largest chemicals producer, gained 2.4 percent and all other petrochemical stocks also rose. The sector's index climbed 2.2 percent, accounting for a quarter of all shares traded on the index.

The broader index gained 1.3 percent to 6,472 points.

Analysts said valuations are attractive in some bank and telecom stocks.

"In the banking sector, we like Banque Saudi Fransi, it's at an attractive valuation," says Asim Bukhtiar, head of research at Riyadh Capital. "Also Al Rajhi and Arab National Bank looks good."

Heavyweight Al-Rajhi Bank climbed 0.7 percent, while Fransi and Arab National Bank slipped 0.2 and 0.3 percent respectively.

A last-minute deal in Washington to raise the debt ceiling spurred a rally in world stocks. Investors are betting the deal means a U.S economy will avoid default.

UAE property stocks lifted the bourses on back of positive sentiment in global markets but muted trade limits gains.

Abu Dhabi's index climbed 0.7 percent to 2,638 points, rising from Sunday's two-month low. Volumes slipped to twelve-day low.

Aldar Properties rose 2.4 percent and Sorouh Real Estate climbed 1.6 percent.

"We've been seeing subdued trading activity for almost two weeks now, a combination of summer lull and the start of the Holy month of Ramadan today," says Sleiman Aboulhosn, assistant fund manager at Al Masah Capital.

Dana Gas ended flat for a second day since it hit a two-week high on Thursday after reports of a possible takeover bid by investment vehicle Vallares

Egypt has met all delayed gas payments to UAE's energy firm this month, after resolving issues of gas volume measurements, an Egyptian official told Reuters on Thursday.

"Sentiment around the name remains strong leading us to be more optimistic about the Dana Gas' short-term prospects," Aboulhosn adds.

Dubai's Emaar Properties climbed 2.8 percent, accounting for a quarter of all shares changing hands on the index.

The emirate's index extended gains for a second day, up 0.6 percent to 1,526 points.

In Qatar, mid-caps helped lift the index by 0.1 percent to 8,412 points. Qatar Islamic Bank and Masraf Al Rayan climbed 0.6 percent each.

Elsewhere, Kuwait's measure ended 0.1 percent higher at 6,037 points.