Gulf stock markets end mixed, Saudi lost stream

Stock markets in the Gulf ended mixed on Thursday. Saudi Arabia’s index lost steam in the final hour of trade and closed 0.02 percent up at 5,694 points, 60 points off the day’s high.

The index was up 1.1 percent for the week on firmer crude oil prices and third-quarter corporate earnings that were generally in line with analysts’ expectations.

Yanbu National Petrochemical (Yansab), a unit of Saudi Basic Industries, dropped 2.3 percent on Thursday, after trading as much as 3.3 percent higher earlier in the day.

It reported third-quarter net profit of 607.6 million riyals ($162.1 million), more than double the year-earlier figure. The result was broadly in line with the 624.7 million riyal average forecast of analysts.

But Saudi Kayan Petrochemical, another SABIC affiliate, closed up 4.1 percent after it swung to a net profit of 156.32 million riyals from a year-earlier loss of 13.81 million riyals; SICO Bahrain had forecast a profit of 105.00 million riyals and NCB Capital, a profit of 95.00 million riyals. Analysts attributed Kayan’s results to higher-than-expected sales and gross margins.

Shares in SABIC rose 0.6 percent.

Some banks gained after they reported earnings. Arab National Bank rose 1.6 percent despite a 5.6 percent slide in net profit that was broadly in line with analysts’ forecasts. Bank Aljazira climbed 3.0 percent after it reported a 3 percent decline in net income.

But Saudi British Bank fell 0.9 percent after saying third-quarter profit fell 12.7 percent to 995 million riyals; analysts had predicted 1.14 billion riyals. It cited a rise in impairment charges for credit losses as the Saudi economy weakened because of low oil prices.

Dubai’s index continued to slide, dropping 0.6 percent after Asian shares pulled back on weak Chinese economic data and U.S. Federal Reserve minutes suggested interest rates were likely to rise in December. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 1.2 percent.

Emaar Properties, Dubai’s top real estate firm, fell 1.3 percent.

Qatar’s main index slipped 0.1 percent with a little over half of traded shares declining. Qatar National Bank , which reported a rise in net profit for the last quarter earlier this week, pulled back 0.3 percent.

THURSDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index edged up 0.02 percent to 5,694 points.

DUBAI

* The index lost 0.6 percent to 3,335 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index fell 0.4 percent to 4,347 points.

QATAR

* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 10,390 points.

KUWAIT

* The index pulled back 0.4 percent to 5,328 points.

OMAN

* The index fell 0.4 percent to 5,660 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index rose 1.3 percent to 1,145 points.

Source: Reuters

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