World Economy

Middle East Stocks Slide Again

Middle East Stocks Slide AgainMiddle East Stocks Slide Again

Stock markets in Saudi Arabia and Egypt slipped in early trade on Sunday, erasing some of their gains in the previous session after oil prices reversed and global markets sold off at the end of last week.

In Riyadh, the index slid 0.5% in thin trade, dragged down by the petrochemical sector. Saudi Arabia Fertilizer and Yanbu National Petrochemical were each down more than 1.5%, Reuters reported.

But some shares were faring better because of positive corporate actions. Saudi Cement rose 2% after the company recommended a dividend distribution of 3.00 riyals per share for the second half of 2015, versus a proposed dividend of 2.5 riyals a year earlier.

Egypt’s index slid 0.3%, erasing some of the previous session’s 2.2% gain. On Thursday the index triggered a minor bullish right triangle formed by the highs and lows since mid-January and pointing up to around 6,750 points.

Orascom Telecom tumbled as much as 5% in the first minutes of trade. But the conglomerate’s plan to form a financial power center with the anticipated acquisition of CI Capital from Commercial International Bank is a net positive in the long run, said a note by Sigma Capital.

Palm Hills traded up 1.7% after Egypt’s second-largest listed property developer reported a 128% jump in fourth-quarter net profit to 203.5 million Egyptian pounds ($26 million). It also proposed its first cash dividend, 0.15 pound per share, and a bonus share issue of one for 20.

“Revenues stood at 957 million Egyptian pounds, beating our forecast of 664 million Egyptian pounds, on higher-than-expected deliveries of villas, apartments and chalets,” said a note by Cairo-based Naeem Brokerage.

 Bourse Falls

Bourses in the UAE and Qatar fell in early trade on Sunday after oil prices dropped back and global bourses tumbled.

Abu Dhabi’s index traded down 0.6%, erasing some of Thursday’s 2.1% gain. Dana Gas, a natural gas explorer, fell 2.2% after adding 4.7% in the previous session.

Dubai’s exchange was near flat in the first 45 minutes of trade. But Emaar Properties was up 1.9%; investors are waiting for the emirate’s largest developer by market value to release its quarterly results in coming days. SICO Bahrain expects Emaar to make a net profit of Dh1.1 billion ($2.92 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2015, a 26% jump from a year earlier.

In Qatar, the index fell 1% with Industries Qatar trading down 3.2% after the state-run petrochemical and metals producer reported a net profit of 570 million riyals for the three months to December 31. That was down from 1.62 billion riyals a year earlier; SICO Bahrain and QNB Financial Services had forecast 1.16 billion and 1.11 billion riyals.

Blue-chip banks also sold off, with Qatar National Bank and Masraf Al Rayan trading down 1.2 and 1% respectively.