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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi supported by strong data, Industries Qatar pulls down Doha
February 5, 2017 / 8:22 AM / 9 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi supported by strong data, Industries Qatar pulls down Doha

DUBAI, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Positive economic data helped to support Saudi Arabia’s stock market in early trade on Sunday while a fourth-quarter earnings miss by Industries Qatar dampened trading in Doha.

The Saudi index edged up 0.2 percent in the first 40 minutes with activity focusing on second- and third-tier stocks including Al Ahsa Development, up 3.7 percent.

Growth in Saudi Arabia’s non-oil private sector accelerated to its fastest rate for 17 months in January after the government resumed paying overdue debts to the private sector, a purchasing managers’ index based on a survey of companies showed on Sunday.

In Dubai, the Index climbed 0.4 percent as Shuaa Capital added 3.1 percent. The company said its board would meet on Feb. 13 to approve its annual earnings, followed by a news conference. Investors expect company to detail its strategy after Abu Dhabi Financial Group bought a 48.36 percent stake in it last November.

Abu Dhabi’s index rose 0.3 percent on the back of a 1.6 percent gain by First Gulf Bank.

Qatar slipped 0.3 percent as Industries Qatar slid 4.8 percent. The petrochemicals, metals and fertiliser producer posted 63 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit to 230 million riyals ($63.2 million); the average forecast of three analysts polled by Reuters had been for 902.7 million riyals.

The company did not give a reason for the earnings miss, but recommended a cash dividend for 2016 of 4 riyals per share, less than the 5 riyals proposed for 2015.

In Kuwait, the index sank 1.9 percent, continuing to pull back after leaping 19 percent in January. Kuwaiti newspapers reported the cabinet might be reshuffled or resign early this week in an effort to avoid a vote of no-confidence in the minister of information and youth.

Ten Kuwaiti lawmakers filed a motion last week to hold a vote of no-confidence in the minister after questioning him over the country’s 15-month international sports ban - a sign of political tensions that could ultimately slow the government’s economic development plans. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia; editing by John Stonestreet)

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