Stock markets in the Gulf were soft in early trade Sunday, weighed down by weak oil prices and a lacklustre set of second-quarter corporate results.
Riyadh’s stock index lost 0.2 percent after 40 minutes of trade as the petrochemical sector dropped 0.4 percent. The September Brent oil contract settled at $42.46 a barrel on Friday, down 0.6 percent on the day and 14.5 percent lower on the month.
Emaar the Economic City, builder of the King Abdullah Economic City in Jeddah, dropped 2.9 percent. The company reported a 58 percent jump in second-quarter net profit to 79 million riyals ($21.1 million), but it attributed the rise mainly to cancellation of a rental contract and to changes in infrastructure cost estimates for industrial land.
In Dubai, the main index edged down 0.3 percent as du dropped 2.3 percent. The telecommunications operator reported an 11.3 percent fall in second-quarter net profit to 445.4 million dirhams ($121.3 million), at the low end of expectations; analysts at EFG Hermes and SICO Bahrain had forecast 433.8 million dirhams and 487.1 million dirhams respectively.
But Aramex jumped 3.5 percent on news that the founder, Fadi Ghandour, has sold all his shares in Levant Logistics Holdings, which held his 9.9 percent stake in Aramex. This, and the purchase on Thursday of a 6.55 percent stake in Aramex by Jaona Investment LLC, suggested the interest of a strategic investor in the company. On Thursday, Aramex reported a 36-percent rise in second-quarter net profit, above estimates.
In Abu Dhabi the index was flat as usually heavily traded shares moved little. Aldar Properties, which is due to report earnings this week, slipped 0.4 percent.