February 8, 2017 / 8:23 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar's Barwa leaps on Q4 earnings, Saudi drops as oil slides

DUBAI, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Shares in a Qatari property developer jumped in early trade on Wednesday after it swung to a quarterly profit, while Saudi Arabia’s market pulled back following a fall in crude oil prices.

Barwa Real Estate surged 6.9 percent after posting a net profit of 108 million riyals ($29.7 million) in the three months to Dec. 31 versus a loss of 518 million riyals a year earlier. The board recommended a 2016 cash dividend of 2.5 riyals per share, higher than the 2.2 riyals proposed for 2015.

United Development, however, dropped 2.4 percent after the board recommended a dividend for the full year of 1.25 riyals, lower than 1.5 riyals for 2015. The developer reported a fourth-quarter net profit of 171.4 million riyals, an 81 percent jump from the prior-year period.

Doha’s main index was flat with a little under two-thirds of traded shares declining.

Saudi Arabia’s index was pulled 0.9 percent lower as Brent oil traded below $55 a barrel. All 14 listed petrochemical producers declined with Nama Chemicals, the worst performer in that sector after 45 minutes, retreating 5.3 percent and Saudi Kayan losing 1.6 percent.

Dubai’s index barely moved with Emaar Properties rising 0.5 percent and Dubai Entertainments up 1.7 percent.

Energy companies in Abu Dhabi outperformed in the run-up to their fourth-quarter earnings announcements which are expected on Thursday. Abu Dhabi National Energy added 2.0 percent and Dana Gas was up 1.9 percent. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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