Gulf markets sluggish as oil prices rise to highest levels in 3yrs

Gulf markets were sluggish on Monday as a surge in oil prices to more than three-year highs failed to lift stocks.

Oil prices rose to their highest levels since late-2014 on Monday, lifted by Venezuela’s deepening economic crisis and an upcoming decision on whether the United States will re-impose sanctions on Iran.
The rise helped boost some Saudi Arabian petrochemical stocks. Yanbu National Petrochemicalsrose 1.3 percent.

But the Saudi benchmark index closed flat after reversing earlier losses.

Saudi Arabia’s largest food products company, Savola Group 2050.SE was one of the biggest gainers after it said late on Sunday it had purchased a 51 percent stake in Al Kabeer Group of Companies for 565.5 million riyals ($150.8 million). The impact of the deal on Savola’s results would be positive once the deal is completed during the second half of the year, it said.

National Commercial Bank , the kingdom’s largest bank, closed 1.2 percent up. The bank last week reported a 10.5 percent rise in first-quarter net profit, above analysts’ forecasts as bad debt charges fell and fees rose.

In Dubai, the index was down 0.1 percent, hurt by a 3.2 percent dip in index bellwether Emaar Properties EMAR.DU .

Dubai Investments fell 1.6 percent despite the company reporting a rise in first-quarter profit to 362 million dirhams ($98.6 million), up from 289 million dirhams in the year earlier period.

The Abu Dhabi index was down 0.4 percent. One of the weights on the index was Aldar Properties , down 1.4 percent. Earlier on Monday, the developer said it had reached a deal with Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) to acquire real estate assets worth 3.7 billion dirhams.

The move is the latest sign of consolidation of state-controlled entities in the emirate.

The Qatari index closed 0.9 percent up. Industries Qatar IQCD.QA , the Middle East’s second-biggest petrochemicals company and holding the largest weighting on the Qatar index, closed 2.0 percent higher.

Source: Reuters