MIDEAST STOCK MAR­KETS

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Gulf stock mar­kets mostly fell yes­ter­day be­cause of weak oil prices, while a slide of shares in Oras­com Tele­com Me­dia dragged down Egypt’s bourse.

Brent crude oil tum­bled more than 2 per­cent at one stage in Asian trade to be­low $44 a bar­rel, though it later re­cov­ered above that mark. The Saudi stock in­dex, which had surged 2.1 per­cent on Sun­day, fell back 0.4 per­cent. Top petro­chem­i­cal pro­ducer Saudi Ba­sic In­dus­tries added 0.9 per­cent. But many banks fell with Al Ra­jhi los­ing 1.9 per­cent.

Emaar Eco­nomic City rose sharply in early trade but closed 4.2 per­cent lower. It had jumped 9.1 per­cent on Sun­day af­ter it said au­thor­i­ties, who have been in­ves­ti­gat­ing how the firm ac­quired land in the in­dus­trial zone which it is de­vel­op­ing, would let it keep the land to pro­tect the in­ter­ests of in­vestors. The Saudi mar­ket’s losses in­creased dur­ing the day af­ter Saudi Ara­bia’s cab­i­net said it had de­cided to im­pose an an­nual 2.5 per­cent fee on un­de­vel­oped ur­ban land des­ig­nated for res­i­den­tial or com­mer­cial use, in an ef­fort to de­ter hoard­ing of land and re­solve a short­age of af­ford­able hous­ing.

Real es­tate de­vel­oper Dar Al Arkan dropped 2.3 per­cent; al­though it is still un­clear how the tax will be ap­plied, some in­vestors fear the value of the com­pany’s land bank could de­crease as a re­sult of the tax. But builder Al-Kho­dari, which could ben­e­fit if hous­ing con­struc­tion in­creases, added 1.4 per­cent.

Dubai’s in­dex dropped 1.1 per­cent as real es­tate and con­struc­tion firms slid, with Union Prop­er­ties los­ing 3.1 per­cent. The euro hit a sev­en­month low against the United Arab Emi­rates dirham yes­ter­day - neg­a­tive news for for­eign in­vest­ment in the UAE property mar­ket.

Qatar’s in­dex fell 1.5 per­cent as drilling rig provider Gulf In­ter­na­tional Ser­vices slipped 2.5 per­cent. Egypt’s in­dex opened higher but closed 2.4 per­cent lower. Oras­com Tele­com Me­dia, the most heav­ily traded stock, sank 7.6 per­cent to 0.61 Egyp­tian pound af­ter say­ing on Sun­day it was re­mov­ing its North Korean unit Ko­ry­olink from its con­sol­i­dated fi­nan­cial state­ments be­cause sanc­tions against Py­ongyang had af­fected its abil­ity to op­er­ate there.

EFG Her­mes said it was cut­ting its rat­ing of the stock to sell from neu­tral with fair value at 0.53 pound. Qalaa Hold­ings fell 4.6 per­cent af­ter say­ing its sub­sidiary Mashreq Petroleum was in ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Gen­eral Author­ity of the Suez Canal Eco­nomic Zone to ter­mi­nate a con­tract to build, op­er­ate and trans­fer a liq­uid bulk sta­tion at East Port Said.

Oras­com Con­struc­tion dropped 3.6 per­cent af­ter re­port­ing third-quar­ter earn­ings and say­ing it would dis­trib­ute a to­tal cash div­i­dend of $0.36 per share in 2016, im­ply­ing a yield of 5.1 per­cent based on its NASDAQ Dubai clos­ing price of $7.0 per share on Nov. 22. The Dubai-listed shares rose 2.9 per­cent, how­ever. —Reuters

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