Gulf bourse rises as Saudi Q1 earnings please, oil holds up

Most Gulf stock markets surged early Tuesday as several Saudi Arabian companies beat first-quarter earnings estimates and oil prices held up better than feared after the failure of Sunday’s Doha meeting of producers to agree on an output freeze.

The Saudi stock index climbed 1.1 percent as Saudi Basic Industries, the biggest petrochemical producer, gained 1.7 percent. It reported a 13.2 percent drop in net profit to 3.41 billion riyals ($909.4 million); analysts had on average forecast 2.84 billion riyals.

Sipchem gained 1.4 percent after posting a 37.1 percent drop in profit to 50.7 million riyals. Analysts had forecast 37.42 million riyals.

The Saudi construction sector has also been hit hard by low oil prices, but major builder Khodari rose 0.8 percent. Its profit plunged 70.6 percent to 4.11 million riyals but beat the estimate of EFG Hermes, which had forecast a loss of 6.25 million riyals.

Mouwasat Medical Services jumped 4.6 percent after posting a 27.2 percent rise in profit to 71.1 million riyals, beating an average forecast of 60.7 million riyals.

Jarir Marketing Co edged up 0.4 percent after cutting its first-quarter cash dividend to 1.75 riyals per share from 2.25 riyals.

Dubai’s index added 0.6 percent, helped by a 1.4 percent rise in Emaar Properties after chairman Mohammed Alabbar told reporters that its performance in the first quarter looked good because of better-than-expected sales and cost-cutting. The company has not yet announced first-quarter earnings.

Abu Dhabi edged up 0.2 percent; most stocks moved little but Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, which is to release earnings on Thursday, jumped 6.7 percent in unusually heavy trade.

Qatar edged down 0.2 percent but nine of the 10 most heavily traded stocks were higher. Lender Masraf Al Rayan slipped 0.1 percent after reporting a 5.1 percent rise in first-quarter net profit to 537 million riyals ($147.5 million); EFG Hermes had forecast 513.3 million riyals and QNB Financial Services, 518.9 million riyals.

Source: Reuters