* Dubai chart breakout suggests underperformance may be ending
* Islamic Arab Insurance rises in big volume, DAMAC continues rise
* First Abu Dhabi Bank surges before earnings
* Saudi petrochemical maker Yansab drops after earnings
* Gulf International Services, Gulf Warehousing aid Qatar
By Andrew Torchia
DUBAI, July 17 (Reuters) - Dubai’s stock index rose above technical resistance on Monday, suggesting a long period of underperformance compared with the region and other emerging markets might be ending, while a bank going ex-dividend helped to pull down Saudi Arabia’s market.
The Dubai index gained 0.8 percent to 3,602 points, eclipsing its April peak of 3,573 points. The next, strong resistance is at 3,737-9 points, the January and February peaks.
Islamic Arab Insurance, the market’s most active stock, climbed 3.4 percent in unusually heavy trade, accounting for about a quarter of all volume. It has been trading near record lows and, with a price below half a dirham, is easily moved by short-term speculators.
DAMAC Properties, which has been surging to record highs in the past week, added a further 3.8 percent.
Neighbouring Abu Dhabi’s index was also strong, climbing 1.1 percent as the biggest bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank , which is due to report earnings in coming weeks, surged 2.8 percent.
Sharjah Islamic Bank, which had just reported a 6.4 percent year-on-year rise in second-quarter net profit attributable to shareholders, jumped 2.9 percent. But Union National Bank, which had been rising since it reported strong quarterly earnings last week, fell back 1.9 percent.
In Saudi Arabia, the index fell 0.8 percent as Banque Saudi Fransi, which had added 1.4 percent on Sunday, went ex-dividend and tumbled 5.5 percent.
Petrochemical maker Yansab sank 1.7 percent after it reported a 54 percent year-on-year plunge in second-quarter net profit, despite an increase in some prices. It cited a temporary shutdown of some facilities for maintenance and higher feedstock prices.
Chemanol rose 1.1 percent after saying it had received $10 million from a bank guarantee after one of its marketers failed to meet contract obligations. The marketer intends to seek arbitration, Chemanol said.
Qatar’s index rose 1.0 percent as drilling rig provider Gulf International Services, the most heavily traded stock, gained 2.5 percent. It has been in an uptrend from near multi-year lows since Qatar outlined plans to boost its gas production a couple of weeks ago.
Gulf Warehousing surged 4.7 percent in heavy trade. After initially falling when other Arab states cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5, it has rebounded strongly as the Qatari government has ploughed money into developing new trade routes, which could benefit the firm.
Egypt’s blue-chip index also rose 1.0 percent on the back of a few low-priced stocks such as real estate firm Porto group, which surged 7.9 percent. The broader EGX100 index was marginally lower.
* The index fell 0.8 percent to 7,289 points.
* The index rose 0.8 percent to 3,602 points.
* The index climbed 1.1 percent to 4,576 points.
* The index rose 1.0 percent to 9,436 points.
* The index climbed 1.0 percent to 13,956 points.
* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 6,801 points.
* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 1,315 points.
* The index rose 0.2 percent to 5,073 points. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia, editing by Larry King)