MIDEAST STOCK MAR­KETS

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Saudi Ara­bia’s stock mar­ket re­bounded on the back of bank­ing shares yes­ter­day while other ma­jor Gulf bourses were firm, with builder Drake & Scull leap­ing in Dubai after it re­placed its chief ex­ec­u­tive. The Saudi stock index, which had tum­bled 2.2 per­cent on Sun­day as banks dropped be­cause of con­cern about the im­pact of govern­ment aus­ter­ity poli­cies on their bal­ance sheets, closed yes­ter­day 1.2 per­cent higher in mod­er­ate trad­ing vol­ume.

The bank­ing index, which had plunged 4.5 per­cent on the pre­vi­ous day, bounced back 1.9 per­cent. Qas­sim Ce­ment dropped 1.5 per­cent after re­port­ing a 29 per­cent year-on-year drop in third-quar­ter net profit, cit­ing lower de­mand for ce­ment as well as cost in­creases due to cuts in state sub­si­dies for elec­tric­ity and fuel. But Saudi Ara­bia Fer­til­iz­ers Co rose 1.2 per­cent after it and Saudi Ba­sic In­dus­tries said they had hired in­vest­ment banks to ad­vise on the po­ten­tial sale of a stake in the Ibn Al-Bay­tar fer­til­izer com­pany, a 50-50 joint ven­ture be­tween them. SABIC fell 0.3 per­cent.

Dubai’s index rose 0.3 per­cent as Drake & Scull, the most heav­ily traded stock, surged 7.0 per­cent after say­ing it had ap­pointed chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Wael Al­lan as its new chief ex­ec­u­tive, re­plac­ing Khal­doun Tabari, a ma­jor share­holder. Drake & Scull’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, Kailash Sadangi, told Reuters in Au­gust that the com­pany had asked ad­vis­ers for pro­pos­als to re­view its busi­ness and find strate­gic in­vestors. The change at the top of the com­pany could clear the way for new in­vest­ment and fresh ac­tion to stem its losses.

Abu Dhabi’s index gained 0.6 per­cent as First Gulf Bank rose 2.2 per­cent, while strength in In­dus­tries Qatar and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions firm Oore­doo helped Qatar’s index climb 0.5 per­cent. Egypt, which had risen strongly for four straight days on signs the coun­try is near­ing the com­ple­tion of its $12 bil­lion loan deal with the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, fell back 0.9 per­cent.

In a sign that Saudi Ara­bia may be be­com­ing less will­ing to sup­port Egypt fi­nan­cially as its own fi­nances are weak­ened by low oil prices, an Egyp­tian of­fi­cial told Reuters that the Saudis had in­formed the Egyp­tian Gen­eral Pe­tro­leum Cor­po­ra­tion, Egypt’s state oil com­pany, in early Oc­to­ber that it would halt the sup­ply of re­fined oil prod­ucts to Egypt.

In­vest­ment firm Qalaa Hold­ings, which had plunged 8.3 per­cent on Sun­day after re­port­ing a sharply wider quar­terly net loss, was the most heav­ily traded stock yes­ter­day and lost a fur­ther 7.6 per­cent. Global Tele­com pulled back 4.1 per­cent. — Reuters

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