December 11, 2017 / 1:56 PM / 7 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi pulls back as Dar Al Arkan bubble bursts

* Dar Al Arkan had nearly doubled since mid-November

* Many analysts say stock was well above fair value

* Saudi cement shares strong before 2018 state budget

* Qatar index bounces from near six-year lows

* Dubai’s Emaar Development rises, still way below IPO price

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s stock market pulled back on Monday as a bubble in shares of real estate firm Dar Al Arkan burst, while equities in Qatar pulled further away from six-year lows.

The Saudi index retreated 0.6 percent as Dar Al Arkan, which had gained as much as 3.4 percent in early trade, closed 9.9 percent lower at 12.60 riyals. It was by far the market’s most heavily traded stock.

Dar Al Arkan had jumped from around 7.50 riyals in mid-November, when international index compiler MSCI said it was adding the stock to its Saudi Arabia Index. Retail investors piled into the stock in recent days, drawn by its volatility.

But the stock climbed far beyond what many analysts considered fair value, to about 51 times trailing earnings, according to Thomson Reuters data. Three analysts surveyed by Reuters have a median target price of 5.00 riyals for the stock; two rate it a “hold” and one a “sell”.

Saudi cement shares stayed strong, however. They have been rising in recent weeks, partly on hopes that the government will spend more heavily on major construction projects next year after three years of austerity. Riyadh is expected to release its 2018 state budget next week.

Jouf Cement jumped 5.9 percent to its highest level since early 2016 in heavy trade.

Qatar’s index shot up in late trade to close 1.2 percent higher, rebounding from the six-year lows it has been languishing at for much of the last month. Qatari Investors Group, which traded at around 23 riyals in mid-November, surged 3 percent to 33.48 riyals.

In Dubai, the index rose 0.6 percent as real estate firm Emaar Development, which hit a record closing low of 5.34 dirhams last week, rebounded 2.6 percent to 5.49 dirhams. Its shares were sold in last month’s initial public offer at 6.03 dirhams.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index fell 0.6 percent to 7,100 points.

DUBAI

* The index rose 0.6 percent to 3,414 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index climbed 1.4 percent to 4,356 points.

QATAR

* The index gained 1.2 percent to 7,923 points.

EGYPT

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 14,427 points.

KUWAIT

* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 6,156 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index edged down 0.03 percent to 1,265 points.

OMAN

* The index fell 0.4 percent to 5,041 points. (Editing by Susan Fenton)

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