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MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets creep higher, Saudi gets boost from Jarir's strong Q1 results
May 9, 2017 / 1:28 PM / 5 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets creep higher, Saudi gets boost from Jarir's strong Q1 results

* Saudi’s Jarir jumps on Q1 beat

* Most other retailers buoyant, lifts Saudi market

* Shares of DFM up on Q1 results

* Aldar climbs on Q1 earnings beat, higher revenue

* Egypt up, real estate shares strong

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, May 9 (Reuters) - Shares of companies that beat quarterly earnings estimates outperformed on Tuesday with electronics and bookstore retailer Jarir helping lift the mood on the Saudi Arabian exchange.

Markets across the region rose modestly in thin trade.

Shares of Jarir surged 6 percent to 141.0 riyals in the heaviest volumes in two weeks after it reported a 26.5 percent rise in first quarter net profit, beating analysts’ forecasts.

The company’s board also recommended distributing 2.2 riyals per share for the period, higher than the 1.75 riyals it paid out in the prior year period.

“This implies an annualised dividend of 8.8 riyals per share and yield of 6.6 percent, which is amongst the highest in the sector and offers downside-risk protection to investors,” said Riyadh-based NCB Capital.

Jarir’s top line rose by 20.3 percent in the period, helped by rising sales of smartphones and sales of goods to schools.

Analysts at Riyadh-based Alrajhi Capital said revenue growth was probably driven by new store openings after Jarir opened a record seven retail stores in the last four quarters. Also Alrajhi Capital said like-for-like sales at existing stores came in better than estimated.

Consumers’ spending is expected to improve on the back of the reversal of last year’s cut in civil servants’ pay packages. That is good news for companies like Jarir, despite its shares trading at a slight premium to other retailers on a forward price-to-earnings ratio.

NCB Capital, for example, rates the stock “overweight” and has a price target of 142.6 riyals. It calculates the stock to be trading at a forward price-to-earnings of 16.3 times earnings compared to peers of 15.0 times.

The positive mood spilled into most other local consumption related shares, with Jarir’s competitor United Electronics climbing 3.3 percent. The Saudi index rose 0.8 percent.

Supermarket operator Al Othaim rose 1 percent after it reported a 29 percent rise in net profit on the back of sales growth at existing branches and the opening of new outlets.

In Dubai, the index rose 0.5 percent as shares of Dubai Financial Market, the only listed stock exchange in the Gulf, rose 1.7 percent after its first quarter net profit jumped by almost a fifth.

In neighbouring Abu Dhabi, shares of the largest listed developer Aldar Properties rose 1.8 percent after its net profit attributable to shareholders for the first quarter came in at the upper end of analysts’ estimates, although slightly lower than a year earlier. The index rose 0.1 percent.

Qatar’s index added 0.1 percent as half of the shares rose. Oil-sensitive shares recovered some losses made in recent days with Gulf International Services adding 0.5 percent on Tuesday, but staying near a 2013 low touched on Sunday.

EGYPT

Cairo’s main index rose 0.8 percent to 12,934 points in above 10-day average volume, suggesting fresh inflows to the market after a lull.

Real estate developer Talaat Mostafa Group jumped 4 percent and Palm Hills Development Company rose 3.6 percent.

Although the companies have not yet reported first quarter result, Palm Hills said last month that new sales in the three months to March 31 rose by 58 percent from the prior year period.

Analysts at Naeem Brokerage said they expect sales to remain strong for the entire real estate sector in Egypt, but have warned that margins may drop on rising costs and a slowdown in construction.

“Given the high inflationary environment and reduced purchasing power of locals ... impacts on future demand yet to be known,” Naeem said.

HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index added 0.8 percent to 6,919 points.

DUBAI

* The index rose 0.5 percent to 3,408 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 4,585 points.

QATAR

* The index inched up 0.1 percent to 9,866 points.

EGYPT

* The index added 0.8 percent to 12,934 points.

KUWAIT

* The index fell 0.4 percent to 6,599 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index fell 0.5 percent to 1,316 points.

OMAN

* The index declined 0.3 percent to 5,423 points. ($1 = 3.7502 riyals) ($1 = 18.0500 Egyptian pounds)

Editing by Andrew Torchia and Susan Fenton

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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