Gulf to consolidate, Almarai Q4 at low end of estimates

Gulf stock markets looks set to consolidate on Sunday with Saudi Arabia facing major technical resistance. The Saudi index last closed at 7,539 points, near the July peak of 7,586 points – a natural place for the rally of the past two months to pause.

Dairy company Almarai reported fourth-quarter net profit of 513 million riyals ($136.8 million), down from 536 million riyals a year ago and below forecasts of 549 million riyals by SICO Bahrain and 531 million riyals by NCB Capital. It blamed a 2.6 percent decline in revenue on the loss of sales to Gulf and export countries, in an apparent reference to the embargo on Qatar.

In Dubai, Union Properties said it had sold its entire stake in district cooling firm Emicool to Dubai Investments for 500 million dirhams ($136.2 million), but the sale may have little effect on the stock as Union Properties had said two weeks ago it would sell the stake.

Proceeds will be used to develop in new areas. Union Properties said this month it had acquired a 5.68 percent stake in Egypt’s Palm Hills Development through its unit UPP Capital Investment.

Dubai Investments said the purchase of the 50 percent of Emicool that it did not already own would have a positive impact on its consolidated financials, with EBITDA expected to increase by 110 million riyals.

Shares on Wall Street rose modestly on Friday, with each of the major Wall Street indexes marking their third straight weekly gain. Brent oil was last at $68.61, down 1 percent on the day. Source: Reuters