Arabian Gulf stocks rise on positive Saudi earnings, higher oil

Most Gulf stock markets rose early on Tuesday as several Saudi Arabian companies beat first-quarter earnings estimates and oil prices held up better than feared after the failure of Sunday’s Doha meeting of producers to agree on an output freeze.

The Saudi stock index climbed 1.1 per cent as Saudi Basic Industries, the biggest petrochemical producer, gained 1.7 per cent. It reported a 13.2 per cent drop in net profit to 3.41 billion Saudi riyals; analysts had on average forecast 2.84bn riyals.

Sipchem gained 1.4 per cent after posting a 37.1 per cent drop in profit to 50.7 million riyals. Analysts had forecast 37.42m riyals.

The Saudi construction sector has also been hit hard by low oil prices, but major builder Khodari rose 0.8 per cent. Its profit plunged 70.6 per cent to 4.11m riyals but beat the estimate of EFG Hermes, which had forecast a loss of 6.25m riyals.

Mouwasat Medical Services jumped 4.6 per cent after posting a 27.2 per cent rise in profit to 71.1m riyals, beating an average forecast of 60.7m riyals.

Jarir Marketing Co edged up 0.4 per cent after cutting its first-quarter cash dividend to 1.75 riyals per share from 2.25 riyals.

Dubai’s index added 0.6 per cent, helped by a 1.4 per cent rise in Emaar Properties after chairman Mohammed Alabbar told reporters that its performance in the first quarter looked good because of better-than-expected sales and cost-cutting. The company has not yet announced first-quarter earnings.

Abu Dhabi edged up 0.2 per cent; most stocks moved little but Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, which is to release earnings on Thursday, jumped 6.7 per cent in unusually heavy trade.

Qatar edged down 0.2 per cent but nine of the 10 most heavily traded stocks were higher. Lender Masraf Al Rayan slipped 0.1 per cent after reporting a 5.1 per cent rise in first-quarter net profit to 537m Qatari riyals; EFG Hermes had forecast 513.3m riyals and QNB Financial Services, 518.9m riyals.

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