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07 Aug

Saudi stock market edges up on back of modest gains in banking sector

Saudi Arabia’s stock market edged up on the back of modest gains in the banking sector yesterday while Egypt imitated world markets’ strong finish at the end of last week. Most other Middle Eastern bourses fell.

The Riyadh index added 0.1% to 7,094 points, remaining near a six-week low, as Samba Financial Group jumped 3.4% after its board recommended a cash dividend of 0.75 riyal for the first half of the year.

The proposed cash outlay is two-thirds more than Samba’s interim payout in 2016. Gulf General Cooperative Insurance jumped 4.6% after reporting a slight dip in second-quarter earnings, while Allianz Saudi Fransi Cooperative Insurance rose 0.7% after announcing a 24% jump in net income.

Emaar the Economic City dropped 3.1% after it reported an 85.4% drop in second-quarter net profit, citing lower residential sales and higher financial charges. Al Andalus Property fell 1.2%.

It reported second-quarter net profit of 27.6mn riyals, up 11% from the same period last year.

Qatar’s index dropped 0.6% to 9,345 points with 15 of the 20 largest companies falling. Telecommunications operator Ooredoo was the biggest loser, falling 3.0%. In the United Arab Emirates, Dana Gas lost 1.5%, helping drag Abu Dhabi’s index 0.2% lower to 4,586 points.

Dubai’s index fell 0.3% to 3,666 points, snapping five straight sessions of modest gains. Union Properties, the most heavily traded stock, lost 1.3% and Emaar Malls Group fell 0.4% ahead of the release of its quarterly earnings.

In Egypt, private equity firm Qalaa Holdings added 2.7%; the stock has risen 10.7% in the past four days after a Kenyan court ended the company’s troubled Rift Valley Railways’ concession and ordered that assets and employees be handed over to Kenya Railways. The company said its investment have been amortised so the transfer wouldn’t affect its consolidated earnings.

Some investors believe terminating the investment could reduce a financial drain on Qalaa and help it focus management attention on more profitable areas.

Most other Egyptian shares were also strong, taking their cue from the positive mood in global equities.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, the Kuwait index declined 0.2% to 6,812 points, the Bahrain index fell 0.2% to 1,320 points and the Oman index lost 0.7% 5,022 points.

Source: GulfBase

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