Petrochemical stocks lift Saudi bourse, rest of Gulf sluggish

Petrochemical stocks and shares expected to benefit from Saudi Arabia’s economic reform plans lifted the Riyadh market Wednesday, while other Gulf bourses were sluggish.

Saudi Basic Industries was up 1.8 percent as Brent oil rose to a five-month peak of $46.49 a barrel overnight. The main Saudi stock index added 0.7 percent.

Al Tayyar Travel jumped 3.9 percent in unusually heavy trade. The reform plan unveiled this week stressed developing the tourism sector, though no details were given.

Also, a venture between Al Tayyar and Dubai-based Equinox Group signed an agreement with New York-listed Choice Hotels International on Tuesday to develop the Clarion, Comfort and Quality hotel brands in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Elsewhere in the Gulf the mood was more subdued, with Dubai’s index dropping 0.8 percent. Emaar Properties lost 2.2 percent as it went ex-dividend.

Abu Dhabi’s market was little changed while Qatar’s index fell 0.8 percent.

Drilling rig provider Gulf International Services rose 1.2 percent but many Qatari stocks were sluggish as activity focused on Qatar First Bank, which listed on Wednesday. After 80 minutes the stock was flat in the market’s heaviest trade.

Dlala Brokerage fell 5.0 percent after it reported first-quarter profit shrank to 446,000 riyals ($123,000) from 6.43 million riyals a year earlier.

Source: Reuters