July 16, 2017 / 2:25 PM / in 9 days

MIDEAST STOCKS-Region mixed; Dubai tests chart barrier, poor earnings hit Oman

3 Min Read

* Dubai index closes on April peak

* Abu Dhabi's Ajman Bank rises after Q2 earnings

* Qatar National Bank pulls back after last week's surge

* Foreigners' buying and selling almost balanced in Qatar

* Omantel, Bank Dhofar among Omani losers after earnings

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, July 16 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf were mixed on Sunday with the global uptrend in equities pushing Dubai's index up to test technical resistance but weak corporate earnings hurting Oman.

The Dubai index gained 1.0 percent in modest trading volume to close on its April peak of 3,573 points. Eight of the 10 most heavily traded stocks rose, with the most active, Union Properties, edging up 0.3 percent.

Abu Dhabi added 0.2 percent as Ajman Bank gained 2.6 percent despite reporting a moderate fall in second-quarter net profit. Its operating income actually rose slightly.

The Saudi index climbed 0.5 percent in a broad-based rally. Banque Saudi Fransi added 1.4 percent and a few second- and third-tier stocks surged in unusually heavy trade; Saudi Printing and Packaging soared 8.5 percent.

Qatar's index fell 1.3 percent with Qatar National Bank, the biggest lender, falling by the same margin. The bank had surged 4.2 percent on Thursday after it reported a 3.6 percent increase in its second-quarter profits earlier in the week.

Exchange data showed foreign investors' buying and selling of Qatari stocks roughly balanced on Sunday while non-Qatari Gulf investors were almost inactive, though they were sellers on a net basis. Some Gulf funds fear sanctions imposed by neighbouring Arab states could eventually force them to pull out of the country entirely.

Oman dropped 1.1 percent as a string of weak earnings showed the strain that low oil prices and government austerity measures have placed on the economy.

Raysut Cement slipped 0.8 percent after reporting that first-half net profit shrank by nearly two-thirds from a year earlier, with turnover also dropping.

Oman Telecommunications sank 3.3 percent after reporting a 39 percent fall in first-half profit, with revenue stagnant.

Bank Dhofar lost 3.2 percent after first-half consolidated net profit shrank 13 percent, and National Gas plunged 8.0 percent in very thin trade after it said first-half profit more than halved.

Highlights

Saudi Arabia

* The index gained 0.5 percent to 7,349 points.

Dubai

* The index rose 1.0 percent to 3,573 points.

Abu Dhabi

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 4,524 points.

Qatar

* The index dropped 1.3 percent to 9,344 points.

Egypt

* The index edged down 0.05 percent to 13,816 points.

Kuwait

* The index rose 0.3 percent to 6,809 points.

Bahrain

* The index fell 0.3 percent to 1,314 points.

Oman

* The index dropped 1.1 percent to 5,064 points. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia; editing by Susan Thomas)

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