SABIC profit boosts Saudi as Qatar hit by weak earnings
DUBAI: Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) helped lift Riyadh’s stock market yesterday after it reported a third-quarter net profit at the top end of forecasts, but a loss at Qatar’s thirdlargest bank dragged that market lower. Egypt slid for a fourth straight session. Riyadh’s stock index rebounded 1.1 percent, ending three days of declines and trimming its loss since Sunday to 3.0 percent. SABIC, the Gulf’s largest petrochemical producer, climbed 1.8 percent to 84.00 riyals after posting a net profit of 5.22 billion riyals ($1.39 billion) in the three months to Sept. 30, down 6.8 percent from a year ago. Analysts polled by Reuters had on average predicted 5.05 billion riyals.
Riyad Capital said in a note that although SABIC’s sales dipped on a quarterly and yearly basis, margins expanded to offset some of that negative impact. It raised its target price for SABIC to 86.00 riyals from 80.00 riyals but maintained a “neutral” rating. “We have increased gross margin assumptions for the full year and beyond as global petrochemical spreads have been healthy.” Roughly two-thirds of Saudi petrochemical producers have now reported third-quarter earnings, with generally weak results. Nama Chemicals, a mid-sized producer, said yesterday it made a loss of 32.6 million riyals versus a loss of 24.0 million in the same period of 2015; its shares closed flat.
Middle East Healthcare jumped 7.8 percent after its quarterly net income rose 1.4 percent to 92 million riyals. The positive mood spilled into some shares that were hit earlier this week by disappointing results. Lender Saudi Hollandi rebounded 2.4 percent. But Emaar the Economic City, developer of an industrial city near Jeddah, dropped 1.6 percent after reporting a third-quarter net loss of 81 million riyals versus a profit of 8 million riyals a year ago.
In Dubai, the index built positive momentum in the last hour of trade to close up 0.1 percent. No major companies posted fresh results; DXB Entertainments climbed 3.3 percent ahead of opening its theme parks at the end of this month. Gains in blue chips helped boost Abu Dhabi’s stock index 0.9 percent. First Gulf Bank added 1.8 percent, trimming its losses to 1.3 percent since Sunday.
Qatar, Egypt Underperform
In Qatar, the index closed down 0.3 percent as Commercial Bank of Qatar dropped 4.8 percent. The bank made a net attributable loss of 1.04 million riyals ($285,612) in the third quarter versus a profit of 275.9 million riyals a year earlier; analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a profit of 281.7 million riyals. The bank cited provisions for nonperforming loans, after former Australia and New Zealand Banking Group banker Joseph Abraham was appointed chief executive in July. Medicare Group sank 2.9 percent after reporting an 85 percent drop in third-quarter net profit to 4.8 million riyals. Qatar Insurance fell 0.7 percent on a 6 percent drop in third-quarter profit to 108.8 million riyals, considerably below EFG Hermes’ forecast of 312 million riyals. In Cairo, the index of the 30 most valuable shares pulled back 0.7 percent in modest volume. Heliopolis Co for Housing lost 0.6 percent after reporting a 47.9 percent drop in quarterly net profit. —Reuters