MIDEAST STOCK MAR­KETS

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Saudi Ara­bia’s stock mar­ket ended a nine-day ris­ing streak yes­ter­day as bank­ing shares were hit by profit tak­ing, while bourses in the rest of the re­gion were mixed.

The Saudi stock in­dex had surged 10.1 per­cent over the nine trad­ing days through Mon­day, led by banks, af­ter Riyadh’s huge in­ter­na­tional bond is­sue re­duced jit­ters about the econ­omy’s abil­ity to cope with low oil prices and be­gan to ease tight bank­ing sys­tem liq­uid­ity. Yes­ter­day, how­ever, the in­dex re­treated 0.3 per­cent as the bank­ing sec­tor pulled back 0.6 per­cent. The big­gest lender, Na­tional Com­mer­cial Bank, closed flat at 43.80 riyals.

The petro­chem­i­cal sec­tor, the mar­ket’s other big sec­tor, fell 0.8 per­cent af­ter oil prices dropped overnight. Most shares gain­ing ground were sec­ond- or third-tier stocks fa­vored by lo­cal re­tail spec­u­la­tors, such as Al Sagr Co­op­er­a­tive In­sur­ance, which was up 1.3 per­cent.

The re­place­ment overnight of vet­eran fi­nance min­is­ter Ibrahim Alas­saf with Mo­hammed Al-Jadaan, pre­vi­ously chair­man of the Cap­i­tal Mar­ket Author­ity, had no sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the mar­ket. Alas­saf car­ried out sharp spend­ing cuts in the past year but aus­ter­ity is ex­pected to con­tinue un­der Deputy Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, who over­sees eco­nomic pol­icy.

Dubai’s stock in­dex dropped 0.3 per­cent as real es­tate blue chip Emaar Prop­er­ties lost 1.6 per­cent. But Dubai In­vest­ments gained 1.5 per­cent af­ter re­port­ing a 35.9 per­cent rise in third-quar­ter net profit to 334.4 mil­lion dirhams ($91 mil­lion). Abu Dhabi’s in­dex was flat and Qatar rose 0.3 per­cent as prop­erty firm Ez­dan Hold­ing jumped 3.5 per­cent; it had edged down to a seven-month low on Mon­day af­ter re­port­ing a flat third-quar­ter profit.

In Egypt, the in­dex climbed 0.7 per­cent but for­eign in­vestors were net sell­ers by a large mar­gin for a sec­ond straight day be­cause of spec­u­la­tion that a ma­jor cur­rency de­val­u­a­tion could be im­mi­nent, given the Egyp­tian pound’s plunge in the black mar­ket.

Prop­erty de­vel­oper Amer Group Hold­ing climbed to 0.25 pound from 0.24 pound af­ter re­port­ing a rise in third-quar­ter con­sol­i­dated net profit to 76.3 mil­lion pounds ($8.6 mil­lion) from 43.6 mil­lion pounds a year ago. Egyp­tians for Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment and Re­con­struc­tion Co jumped 6.5 per­cent af­ter say­ing a block trade of 5.175 mil­lion of its shares had been ex­e­cuted. —Reuters

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