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MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil pulls down most of Gulf, QNB buoys Qatar Petchems lead Saudi retreat

* Jabal Omar slides for third day after loan payment miss

* Al Bilad Bank up on share capital increase

* Dubai index ends well off lows

* Emaar Misr surges, helps lift Egypt

By Andrew Torchia, DUBAI, (REUTERS): A pullback in oil prices caused weakness in most major Gulf stock markets on Tuesday but Qatar was boosted by its biggest bank, while real estate firms lifted Egypt’s bourse.

Brent crude retreated more than 3 percent to below $33 a barrel on Tuesday as hopes for a deal between OPEC and Russia on oil output cuts faded. That was enough to make many Gulf investors become more wary of buying stocks.

The Saudi stock index, which has been highly correlated to the oil price this year, dropped 1.9 percent, led by petrochemicals. The sector’s biggest stock, Saudi Basic Industries, tumbled 3.6 percent.

Construction company Jabal Omar Development Co slid 3.6 percent, bringing its losses to 7.5 percent in the three days since it said it was in talks with creditors after failing to make the first repayment of 650 million riyals ($173 million) on a 3 billion riyal loan from the government.

Only 22 stocks gained against 141 decliners. Among the gainers, Al Bilad Bank added 4.2 percent after its board recommended a share capital increase through a one for five bonus issue, paid for with financial reserves and retained earnings.

Dubai’s stock index edged down 0.3 percent to 2,970 points but came well off the day’s low of 2,943 points. Emaar Properties dropped 0.8 percent but there was buying in some smaller real estate stocks such as Union Properties , which rose 0.6 percent.

Air Arabia rose 3.3 percent after saying it would hold a board meeting to discuss its 2015 earnings on Sunday.

Abu Dhabi fell 0.4 percent as First Gulf Bank , which had surged in the previous two days on strong fourth-quarter earnings, pulled back 1.7 percent. National Bank of Abu Dhabi sank 2.8 percent.

But the Qatari index rose 0.9 percent as Qatar National bank climbed 1.0 percent after a two-day suspension during which it made a 20 percent bonus share issue, which began trading on Tuesday.

Egypt’s index gained 1.7 percent, more than erasing its loss on Monday. Among real estate stocks, Palm Hills Development surged 4.8 percent and Emaar Misr climbed 6.7 percent to 2.24 Egyptian pounds after Prime Holding started coverage of the stock with a “buy” rating and a fair value estimate of 3.94 pounds.

TUESDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index fell 1.9 percent to 5,874 points.

DUBAI

* The index edged down 0.3 percent to 2,970 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index retreated 0.4 percent to 4,089 points.

QATAR

* The index rose 0.9 percent to 9,633 points.

EGYPT

* The index gained 1.7 percent to 6,009 points.

OMAN

* The index slid 0.4 percent to 5,192 points.

KUWAIT

* The index advanced 0.5 percent to 5,133 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index increased 0.5 percent to 1,190 points.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Published Date: Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 | 10:02 PM

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