Annual earnings boost Qatar, rest of Gulf sluggish

Corporate earnings and dividend news boosted Qatar’s stock market early on Wednesday by suggesting the economy is generally coping well with the impact of an embargo imposed by other Arab states, while other Gulf bourses were sluggish.

Qatar’s stock index rose 0.9 percent in heavy trade as Doha Bank gained 4.1 percent, rising above its July peak to its highest level since March.

The company reported 6 percent growth in annual net profit, an acceleration from 3 percent growth in the first nine months, and kept its annual dividend unchanged, suggesting that with aid from the government, it has withstood withdrawals of deposits and loans triggered by the embargo.

Medicare Group surged 7.8 percent after reporting a 23 percent rise in annual profit, accelerating from 2 percent growth in the first nine months, and hiking its dividend to 4 riyals a share from 3 riyals. The stock has doubled since mid-November.

Qatar Insurance climbed 3.7 percent after reporting annual net profit dropped to 418 million riyals ($115 million) from 1 billion riyals a year earlier, in line with expectations, and keeping its cash and stock dividends unchanged.

Saudi Arabia’s index edged down 0.1 percent with most petrochemical shares pulling back after gains in recent days.

But telecommunications firm Zain Saudi added 2.1 percent after announcing annual net profit of 12 million riyals ($3 million). It had posted nine-month profit of 57 million riyals in the first nine months, implying a fourth-quarter loss of 45 million riyals, below NCB Capital’s forecast of an 8 million riyal profit.

In Dubai, the index slipped 0.2 percent with decliners outnumbering advancing stocks by 22 to eight. Abu Dhabi fell 0.3 percent although Waha Capital surged 4.5 percent in its heaviest trade since last January to its highest level since March 2017. Source: Reuters

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