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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Saudi, Egyptian banks bask in global glow but Samba sold on weak Q2 – Reuters

* Saudi’s Samba wipes out Sunday’s gain

* Egypt comfortably outperforms region for second straight day

* But GB Auto down on weak car sales

* Five Omani insurers to list by end of August

* Dubai’s Air Arabia falls before earnings

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, Aug 7 (Reuters) – The banking sector helped support stock indexes in Saudi Arabia and Egypt on Monday as investors were influenced by the positive mood in global bourses, while other markets in the region moved little.

“With quarterly earnings now largely behind us, investors are looking for fresh triggers, and the optimism buzzing around global markets is just that,” said a Riyadh-based broker.

Sixty banks in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council have now reported second-quarter earnings and according to analysts at Oman’s U-Capital, the sector’s total net profit for the period was $7.85 billion, up 4.7 percent from a year ago.

Banks in the United Arab Emirates recorded the biggest rise of 18.4 percent, while Saudi Arabian banks saw their aggregate net profit slip 2.2 percent to $2.68 billion.

The last of the 12 Saudi lenders to report earnings, Samba Financial Group, announced late on Sunday a net profit of 1.27 billion riyals ($339 million), broadly in line with analysts’ forecasts and down 3.3 percent year-on-year.

Its shares fell 3.8 percent on Monday after they had jumped 3.4 percent on Sunday on news that the bank’s board recommended a cash dividend of 0.75 riyal for the first half of the year, two-thirds more than the 2016 interim payout.

Most other Saudi banks rose on Monday with Alawwal Bank adding 1.9 percent, and the overall stock market index gaining 0.3 percent.

Electronics and bookstore retailer Jarir edged up 0.5 percent after its board recommended a dividend of 1.45 riyals for the second quarter, up slightly from last year.

Egypt’s index gained 0.8 percent, outpacing the rest of the region by a substantial margin for a second straight session. The largest listed lender, Commercial International Bank, added 1.1 percent.

But GB Auto lost 1.0 percent after a report by the industry’s regulatory body showed auto sales in the second quarter plunged 44.5 percent year-on-year.

Analysts at Cairo’s Naeem Brokerage expect GB Auto to suffer slight weakness in sales volume this quarter but anticipate a pick-up in demand starting in the fourth quarter as consumers adjust to new price levels, and because interest rates are expected to be cut.

Qatar’s index closed flat as nine of the 20 most valuable shares declined and seven rose, including Qatar Insurance, which added 0.3 percent.

The company announced plans to float 25 million shares of its subsidiary Oman Qatar Insurance through an initial public offer on the Omani stock exchange.

The decision to list is due to an Omani government directive in 2014 which requires local insurance companies to offer at least 25 percent of their shares to the public before the end of August 2017 by listing on the Muscat Stock Exchange.

National Life & General Insurance, Al Ahlia Company, Vision and Arabia Falcon Insurance are among other insurers that have filed for IPOs.

In the United Arab Emirates, Dubai-listed Air Arabia fell 1.8 percent ahead of the release of its quarterly earnings.

Emaar Malls Group added 0.4 percent after its second-quarter net profit rose 5 percent. Shares of its largest shareholder, Emaar Properties, declined 0.8 percent, helping drag the Dubai index 0.2 percent lower.

Abu Dhabi’s index added 0.1 percent as Dana Gas rose 1.6 percent.

Highlights

Saudi Arabia

* The index added 0.3 percent to 7,113 points.

Dubai

* The index fell 0.2 percent to 3,658 points.

Abu Dhabi

* The index inched up 0.1 percent to 4,592 points.

Qatar

* The index edged down 0.03 percent to 9,343 points.

Egypt

* The index gained 0.8 percent to 13,661 points.

Kuwait

* The index added 0.4 percent to 6,837 points.

Bahrain

* The index rose 0.3 percent to 1,324 points.

Oman

* The index increased 0.4 percent 5,042 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia and Pritha Sarkar)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Saudi, Egyptian banks bask in global glow but Samba sold on weak Q2 – Reuters}

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