DUBAI, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Poor fourth-quarter earnings from two United Arab Emirates companies weighed on stock markets there in morning trade on Thursday while Saudi Arabia barely moved.
Dubai’s index was pulled 0.7 percent lower as Air Arabia dropped 5.8 percent in unusually heavy trade after it made a net loss attributable to owners of 38.6 million dirhams ($10.5 million) versus a net profit of 55.9 million dirhams in the prior-year period.
Analysts at EFG Hermes and SICO Bahrain had forecast a net profit of 131.8 million dirhams and 127.9 million dirhams respectively. The board, citing difficult conditions in the regional aviation industry, recommended a cash dividend of 7 percent for 2016, down from 9 percent for 2015.
Builder Arabtec, which has not yet reported earnings, fell 2.1 percent.
In Abu Dhabi, Dana Gas retreated 3.7 percent after its fourth-quarter net profit came in at $7 million, down from $134.2 million in the year-ago period. The sharp drop was partly due to fact that Dana made a one-off gain from an arbitration settlement in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Dana’s chief executive said the company continues to face challenges in the collection of receivables, especially from Egypt. Abu Dhabi’s stock index edged down 0.1 percent.
Saudi Arabia’s index was flat after half an hour. The largest listed stock, Saudi Basic Industries, rose 0.5 percent as Brent oil climbed back over $55.50 a barrel.
Shares in Tihama Advertising jumped 8.3 percent after the securities regulator approved the company’s planned share capital reduction.
Other small and mid-sized shares, often traded by day traders, pulled back on profit-taking. Al Ahlia for Cooperative Insurance dropped 2.9 percent and polymer maker Nama Chemicals fell 3.4 percent. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Tom Heneghan)