Saudi Arabia May Slow On Mixed Earnings

A batch of mixed first-quarter earnings from banks and a sharper-than-expected profit decline at a petrochemical firm may slow the advance of Saudi Arabia’s stock market on Tuesday.

The kingdom’s index rose 0.9 percent to 9,041 points on Monday with most stocks gaining.

But Al Rajhi Bank, which had risen 1.7 percent during the day and was one of the main supports for the index, posted a 11 percent decline in first-quarter profit after the market closed, missing analysts’ estimates.

The bank made 1.52 billion riyals ($405.3 million) in the three months to March 31, while analysts surveyed by Reuters had on average expected 1.61 billion riyals.

Two other Saudi lenders, Samba Financial Group and Saudi British Bank (SABB), posted profit growth and were slightly ahead of analysts’ forecasts.

In the petrochemical sector, Yanbu National Petrochemical Co (Yansab) reported a 48.7 percent drop in first-quarter net profit on Monday.

The firm, a subsidiary of Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), made a net profit of 285.1 million riyals. Analysts had on average forecast 440.8 million riyals.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, another delisting announcement may dampen sentiment on Kuwait’s bourse. Kout Food Group said it would seek shareholder approval for delisting as the share price did not reflect its performance and the stock’s liquidity was low.

On Monday, Bahrain’s Gulf Finance House said it would review its Kuwait listing, along with the London one. Its Kuwaiti stock dropped 2.6 percent afterwards, although GFH said on Tuesday that some shareholders were against leaving Kuwait’s bourse. It said its board had not yet made any decision on the matter and would seek to protect the interests of all shareholders.

On global markets, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged down 0.3 percent on Tuesfay morning while oil prices were slightly up from Monday’s close but still below the highs seen on that day.

Source: Reuters