Gulf stocks mixed at early trade

Shares in the Gulf were mixed in early trade Monday as some investors cashed out of stocks that had recently risen, while Dubai-listed Air Arabia surged after a quarterly earnings beat.

Riyadh’s index was flat in the first 40 minutes of trade. The food and agriculture index lagged other sectors, with heavyweight Savola Group dropping 1.0 percent.

But petrochemical shares were firm as Brent oil prices stabilised over $45 a barrel in early Asian trade; Saudi Basic Industries edged up 0.6 percent.

In Dubai, Air Arabia, the most heavily traded stock on the bourse, climbed 2.4 percent after the budget airline reported a 42.2 percent rise in first-quarter net profit to 111.1 million dirhams ($30.3 million); analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast 88.8 million dirhams.

But DAMAC Properties dropped 2.8 percent after the developer reported a 15 percent fall in first-quarter net profit, as revenue fell by a third compared to a year earlier.

Shares in companies which have not yet reported first-quarter earnings were also weak, with Arabtec and Drake & Scull each retreating more than 2.0 percent. The general Dubai index was down 0.7 percent.

Neighbouring Abu Dhabi’s stock index fared better, edging up 0.3 percent. Blue chips provided the main support, with First Gulf Bank and Etisalat adding 1.2 and 0.3 percent respectively.

Agthia Group rose 1.1 percent after reporting a 14 percent year-on-year rise in first-quarter net profit on a 12 percent increase in net revenue.

Doha’s index was also up 0.3 percent on the back of some buying interest in blue chips. Islamic bank Masraf Al Rayan and Qatar Gas Transport rose 0.8 and 0.4 percent.

Source: Reuters

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