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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Electricity weighs on Riyadh, Egypt pulls back
January 18, 2017 / 2:37 PM / 10 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Electricity weighs on Riyadh, Egypt pulls back

* Saudi Electricity drops on wider Q4 loss

* Tasnee falls despite swinging to net profit

* Bank Alinma up on Q4 earnings

* Egypt’s Global Telecom drops on Vimpelcom report

* Blue chips support UAE markets

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Shares in Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) weighed on Saudi Arabia’s stock market on Wednesday after the company reported a wider net loss for the fourth quarter, while Egypt’s index pulled back as local traders booked gains in blue chips.

The Saudi equities index edged down 0.3 percent as SEC slumped 3.4 percent after posting a quarterly loss of 2.34 billion riyals ($624 million), much worse than NCB Capital’s forecast of a loss of 1.04 billion riyals.

SEC cited higher energy prices and operating costs.

National Industrialization (Tasnee) lost 2.1 percent to 16.30 riyals after trading as much as 1.8 percent higher earlier in the session.

The titanium dioxide producer swung to a net profit of 123.4 million riyals in the fourth quarter from a net loss of 686.6 million riyals a year earlier, citing an increase in sales volume and a decline in non-core operating expenses.

Advanced Petrochemical lost 0.2 percent despite reporting a 43.8 percent jump in fourth-quarter net profit.

But Alinma Bank added 2.8 percent after it made 390 million riyals in the fourth quarter, a 1 percent rise, in line with analysts’ average forecast of 389 million riyals.

Analysts at Riyad Capital said the bank’s 4.1 percent deposit growth was “impressive given tighter market conditions earlier in the year”.

The largest medical insurer, BUPA Arabia, closed flat after reporting a 7.6 percent decline in fourth-quarter net profit, citing an increase in net claims and lower gross written premiums. But United Cooperative Assurance jumped 4.6 percent after swinging to a net profit from a loss.

In Cairo, the blue-chip index pulled back 1.0 percent from an all-time high in heavy trade. However, foreign investors remained net buyers of shares.

Orascom Telecom, the most heavily traded share, retreated 6.0 percent. Global Telecom Holding dropped 3.1 percent after Russia’s Vedomosti daily reported Vimpelcom wanted to swap its majority stake in Global Telecom for around 12 percent of its own shares owned by Norway’s Telenor .

Qatar’s index pulled back 0.4 percent from a five-month high hit on Tuesday, with Doha Bank closing 0.8 percent lower after surging 6 percent on the previous day.

But Masraf Al Rayan, which jumped 4.0 percent on Tuesday after saying its board had recommended a higher dividend for 2016 despite an 8 percent decline in fourth-quarter net profit, added a further 0.7 percent.

Dubai’s index swung 0.6 percent higher, gaining momentum in the final hour of trade as investors bought shares that have underperformed this year. Emaar Properties climbed 1.3 percent and Dubai Financial Market added 1.5 percent.

Banking shares helped lift Abu Dhabi’s index 0.7 percent. National Bank of Abu Dhabi added 1.4 percent and First Gulf Bank rose 1.5 percent; the two plan to merge this quarter.

International Fish Farming (Asmak) retreated 4.5 percent. It surged earlier this week after a blog posting suggested that a well-known Abu Dhabi individual investor had bought a strategic stake in the company. But, contacted by Reuters, an Asmak spokesman denied this.

WEDNESDAY‘S HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index fell 0.3 percent to 6,853 points.

DUBAI

* The index added 0.6 percent to 3,694 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index rose 0.7 percent to 4,696 points.

QATAR

* The index lost 0.4 percent to 10,880 points.

EGYPT

* The index fell 1.0 percent to 13,304 points.

KUWAIT

* The index added 0.8 percent to 6,352 points.

OMAN

* The index fell 0.3 percent to 5,721 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index rose 0.4 percent to 1,234 points.

Editing by Andrew Torchia/Mark Heinrich

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