Gulf, Egypt inch up as volume shrinks
MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS
Stock markets in the Gulf posted small gains yesterday after crude oil prices climbed back towards 17-month highs at the end of last week, but trading volumes shrank across the region. Foreign buyers continued to bid up shares in Egypt. Brent futures rose 2.2 percent to settle at $55.21 a barrel on Friday after Goldman Sachs boosted its price forecast for 2017 and producers showed signs of adhering to a global deal to reduce output.
Saudi Arabian petrochemical shares were bid up yesterday with all 14 listed producers advancing, pulling the main Saudi stock index 0.7 percent higher. Mid-sized producer Sahara Petrochemical was the top performer, jumping 7.1 percent. Saudi Cable Co rose 2.5 percent after saying its Turkish subsidiary had won a $50 million order, with the financial impact to start appearing by the end of the second quarter next year.
Commodities transportation company National Shipping Co (Bahri) climbed 1.5 percent after it announced its board had proposed a cash dividend of 2.5 riyals per share for 2016, in line with 2015. Its dividend yield is at 6.0 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. Dubai’s main index closed almost flat as trading volume fell to the lowest in five weeks, suggesting that many institutional traders, which played a major role last week, were largely absent yesterday.
Emaar Malls Group rebounded 2.7 percent but builder Drake & Scull, the most heavily traded share, slipped 0.4 percent. Blue chips helped carry Abu Dhabi’s index 0.8 percent higher. Dana Gas rose 1.9 percent and First Gulf Bank climbed 2.0 percent. Stock markets in Bahrain and Qatar were closed for national holidays.