Gulf stock markets mixed in early trade, Ma’aden soars in Saudi

Stock markets in the Gulf were mixed on Sunday’s early trade with Saudi Arabia’s bourse buoyed by commodity-related shares while banks weighed on United Arab Emirates indexes.

Shares in Saudi Arabian Mining Co jumped 9.5 percent, their daily limit, after the miner reshuffled its board and appointed the chairman of state oil giant Saudi Aramco, Khalid al-Falih, as a member.

Developing the Saudi mining industry and making Aramco into a diversified industrial conglomerate are major planks of a national economic reform plan announced last week.

Saudi Basic Industries added 1.2 percent; Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Issa, a board member of Saudi Basic Industries, will also join Ma’aden’s board. The main Saudi stock index was up 0.1 percent after an hour of trade.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, the mood was weaker. Abu Dhabi banks remained soft after disappointing first-quarter earnings last week; the main index fell 0.7 percent. Heavyweight First Gulf Bank was down 1.2 percent and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank lost 2.4 percent.

But Union National Bank rose 2.2 percent despite posting a 27 percent drop in first-quarter net profit attributable to equity holders to 447 million dirhams ($121.76 million). Two analysts polled by Reuters had forecast 314.00 million dirhams and 454.30 million dirhams.

Dubai’s index fell 0.9 percent. Emaar Properties , which has not yet reported earnings, fell 1.0 percent and Dubai Islamic Bank, which reported a drop in profits last week, lost 0.9 percent.

But Gulf Navigation jumped 6.5 percent in unusually high trading volume. The ship operator has not yet reported its quarterly results.

Source: Reuters

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