Saudi Arabia's stock market fell in early trade on Sunday after oil prices dropped, while Egypt's bourse was rose slightly after encouraging news on the country's investment projects.
The main Saudi index fell 1.7 percent and petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries, down 1.8 percent, was the main drag. The company's profits have been hurt by the drop in oil prices over the last 12 months and the commodity's fresh weakness is a concern for investors.
U.S. crude posted its biggest monthly drop - 21 percent - since the 2008 financial crisis on Friday after a string of losses in July triggered by China's stock market slump and signs that top Middle East producers were pumping crude at record levels. Brent lost 5 percent on the week and 18 percent on the month.
Other Saudi blue chips, including banks and consumer stocks, also fell and only a handful of companies made gains, including Kingdom Holding, which edged up 0.7 percent. The investment firm owned by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal posted a 12.6 percent rise in secondquarter net profit on Sunday as its income increased and costs fell.
Egypt's market climbed 0.3 percent, buoyed by property developer Talaat Moustafa Group, which rose 3.3 percent, and Ezz Steel, up 4.3 percent.
Egypt's planning minister told Reuters on Saturday that the Cairo government had turned more than half of initial agreements signed at a March investor conference into investment projects, which could boost demand for construction and related industries. He did not disclose the value of those projects, but the government has previously valued the deals agreed at the event at $36 billion. The country's central bank at the end of last week kept interest rates unchanged, as most analysts had expected. But going forward, some expect a more dovish stance.
Stock markets in the Gulf were narrowly mixed in early trade on Sunday as Dubai outperformed, supported by posi- tive earnings and expectations. The emirate's index rose 0.5 percent, supported by Dubai Islamic Bank, up 1.3 percent, and property developer DAMAC, which jumped 2.6 percent.
Dubai Islamic Bank beat analysts' forecasts with a 35 percent rise in secondquarter net profit last week and DAMAC said on Sunday its board would discuss second-quarter results and a dividend payout on Tuesday.
DAMAC's board will also discuss the adoption of the IFRS 15 accounting standard, which allows developers to recognise off-plan sales earlier than under current practice and could provide a one-off boost to revenues.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Abu Dhabi's bourse was flat with mixed moves by blue chips, while Qatar edged down 0.7 percent. Industries Qatar, whose earnings are sensitive to oil prices, was the main drag and fell 1.6 percent after crude dropped on Friday. Kuwait's index edged down 0.3 percent and Oman inched up 0.1 percent.