Gulf stocks mostly weak in early trade but Saudi firm



Tue, 20 Feb 2018 - 09:03 GMT


Tue, 20 Feb 2018 - 09:03 GMT

Stock markets in the Gulf may - File photo

Stock markets in the Gulf may - File photo

DUBAI - 20 February 2018: Most Gulf stock markets were weak in early trade on Tuesday, in line with a pull-back by Asian bourses and oil prices, but Saudi Arabia remained firm in a fresh sign of fund flows into Riyadh from the rest of the region.

Funds have been rotating into Saudi Arabia ahead of events such as MSCI’s decision in June on whether to upgrade Riyadh to emerging market status, and the planned listing of Saudi Aramco late in the year.

The Saudi stock index was 0.2 percent higher after 55 minutes of trade with gainers outnumbering losers by a ratio of more than two to one.

Saudi Printing & Packaging gained 2.1 percent after winning a 45.6 million riyal ($12.2 million) tender from the education ministry to print syllabuses.

Arabian Cement climbed 1.7 percent after proposing a second-half dividend of 1 riyal per share, continuing to pay a dividend despite reporting that annual net profit almost halved. For the second half of 2016, it had paid 2 riyals.

But Saudi British Bank fell 1.3 percent after reporting a 16.3 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit to 706 million riyals, missing analysts’ average forecast of 946.5 million riyals.

Dubai’s index fell 0.6 percent, once again depressed by weak real estate stocks, with Emaar Properties down 1.0 percent.

But GFH Financial rose 2.4 percent after saying a board meeting had rejected the resignation of Jassim Alseddiqi, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Financial Group, from the board. This appeared to suggest that business ties between GFH and ADFG would continue.

In Abu Dhabi, the index fell 0.2 percent but Abu Dhabi National Energy, which has been rising sharply since it reported nearly two weeks ago that it swung to an annual profit, jumped a further 9.0 percent in active trade.

In Qatar, the index slipped 0.4 percent; Widam Food plunged 5.9 percent as it went ex-dividend.

But Aamal Holding gained 2.3 percent after saying Doha Cables, a fully owned subsidiary of Senyar Industries Qatar, in which Aamal is 50 percent shareholder, was awarded a 1.24 billion ($341 million), two-year contract by Qatar General Electricity & Water Corp to supply power cables.



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