MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt rises after cabinet reshuffle; Gulf mixed
Traders work at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo, Egypt, December 3, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

DUBAI:  Egypt’s stock market rose on Wednesday after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reshuffled his cabinet, while Gulf bourses were mixed in the absence of fresh incentives to trade.

The sweeping Egyptian reshuffle appeared to focus on improving economic performance – banking veteran Amr el-Garhy was appointed finance minister and Dalia Khorshid, formerly an executive of Orascom Construction, as investment minister.

Egypt’s index edged down in early trade before the announcement, but closed 0.9 percent higher in active volume. Two Orascom group affiliates, controlled by members of the Sawiris business family, surged: Orascom Construction jumped 4.8 percent and Orascom Telecom Media rose 6.8 percent.

Egyptian Resorts jumped 9.8 percent after saying it had swung to a consolidated net profit last year from a loss in 2014.

Investment bank EFG Hermes rose 0.5 percent although it reported that 2015 net profit shrank to 649 million Egyptian pounds ($73.1 million) from 707 million pounds in 2014.

The Saudi index fell 0.3 percent as much activity focused on second-tier stocks favoured by local speculators; Wafa Insurance jumped its 10 percent daily limit in unusually heavy trade. Petrochemical blue chip Saudi Basic Industries dropped 1.0 percent.

Zain Saudi – which has been heavily traded since Reuters reported last week that Kuwaiti parent Zain was narrowing the field of potential bidders for its mobile transmitter towers in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait – added 2.9 percent.

Dubai’s benchmark edged down 0.1 percent, although Drake & Scull rose 1.3 percent after saying it had won a 340 million Qatari rial ($93.4 million) contract for work on the Doha Metro.

Abu Dhabi edged up 0.1 percent as telecommunications blue chip Etisalat climbed 1.7 percent. It had tumbled late last week and early this week as retail investors, who had loaded up on the stock in anticipation of its inclusion in FTSE equities indexes, dumped it.

Qatar’s index fell 0.4 percent but Qatari Investors Group jumped its 10 percent daily limit as it resumed trading after being suspended since Feb. 24.

The company had planned to hold an extraordinary shareholders meeting on March 6 to discuss delisting. That meeting did not take place because of the lack of a quorum, and the firm said that the session had been rescheduled to April 12.

Gulf Warehousing jumped its 10 percent limit for a second straight day after the Qatar Central Securities Depository said on Tuesday it had raised the maximum foreign ownership percentage in its shares to 49 percent of capital.

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