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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed on Q4 results, oil; Egypt extends gains
January 22, 2015 / 2:22 PM / 3 years ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed on Q4 results, oil; Egypt extends gains

* Slightly stronger oil boosts Saudi petchems

* Mobily tumbles on major Q4 earnings miss

* Global Telecom leads gains in Egypt

* Cairo benchmark establishes clear break of chart barrier

* UAE Islamic lenders rise after Sharjah Islamic Bank results

By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets were mixed on Thursday, coming under pressure from some negative earnings reports but supported by stronger oil, while Egypt established a clear break of major technical resistance.

Brent crude oil gained more than 2 percent and rose above $50 per barrel on Thursday. Global equities were also strong as the European Central Bank prepared to announce a new quantitative easing programme.

Saudi Arabia’s index edged up 0.3 percent as petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries gained 1.5 percent and a number of other stocks in the sector also rose.

Petrochemicals were hit hard in a sell-off late last year as oil’s plunge dented their profit margins; steadier oil prices could boost the sector.

Meanwhile shares in Etihad Etisalat Mobily, the kingdom’s second-biggest mobile telecommunications operator, tumbled their daily 10 percent limit to 42.70 riyals. Mobily made a fourth-quarter net loss of 2.28 billion riyals ($607 million), while analysts had forecast a profit of 1.33 billion riyals.

Brokerage EFG Hermes slashed its fair value estimate of the stock to 38.1 riyals from 92 riyals in response.

Mobily’s smaller competitor Zain Saudi, however, added 0.6 percent after reporting a reduced fourth-quarter loss of 306 million riyals. Analysts had forecast a loss of 388.5 million riyals.

Egypt’s bourse rose 0.4 percent and Global Telecom led gains, climbing 2.9 percent. The stock rose its daily 10 percent limit on Wednesday after Algerian news agency TSA cited sources to report that Global Telecom’s $2.6 billion deal to sell a 51 percent stake in local operator Djezzy to the Algerian government would be signed next week.

Shares in Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals rose 1.2 percent after its 2014 net profit fell 23.5 percent but met analyst estimates.

The Egyptian benchmark’s Thursday close at 9,899 points marked a clear break of a major chart barrier at 9,831 points, September’s multi-year peak. The index now faces its next major barrier at 12,039 points, the all-time high hit in 2008.

UAE, QATAR

Dubai’s index rose 0.9 percent as Dubai Islamic Bank added 1.8 percent and Emaar Properties gained 0.7 percent.

The latter’s subsidiary, Emaar Malls Group, rose 1.8 percent after reporting full-year results, even though they were slightly below analysts’ average estimate. The firm reported an annual profit of 1.35 billion dirhams ($368 million)in 2014, while analysts had expected 1.42 billion dirhams.

Abu Dhabi’s benchmark edged down 0.4 percent as most blue chips pulled back. Telecommunications firm Etisalat , which has a 27.5 stake in Saudi Arabia’s Mobily, fell 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, shares in Sharjah Islamic Bank surged 4.3 percent. The lender reported a 23 percent increase in 2014 net profit on Wednesday. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, whose board will review earnings on Sunday, added 1.3 percent.

Qatar’s index fell 1.3 percent as trading focused on developer Mazaya Qatar. which is not part of the benchmark. The stock gained 0.4 percent after Mazaya said it would not proceed with a merger with Mackeen Holding.

Telecommunications firm Ooredoo slipped 0.2 percent after rating agency Moody’s changed to negative from stable its outlook for the company’s credit rating, saying that “profitability in Ooredoo’s core markets has been declining at a faster pace than initially expected.”

THURSDAY‘S HIGHLIGHTS

DUBAI

* The index rose 0.9 percent to 3,883 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index edged down 0.4 percent to 4,527 points.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index edged up 0.3 percent to 8,422 points.

QATAR

* The index fell 1.3 percent to 11,699 points.

EGYPT

* The index rose 0.4 percent to 9,899 points.

KUWAIT

* The index was flat at 6,663 points.

OMAN

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 6,645 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index slipped 0.3 percent to 1,429 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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