August 5, 2018 / 8:29 AM / in 17 days

MIDEAST STOCKS-Alhokair supports Saudi market, RAK Properties drags Abu Dhabi

DUBAI, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Most Gulf markets posted minor gains in early trade on Sunday, as some companies’ positive financial results offset global trade concerns and lower oil prices.

Oil pulled back late last week, giving up earlier gains as fears that Chinese demand could taper weighed on prices. Brent crude futures settled at $73.21 per barrel on Friday, down 24 cents from their previous close.

This meant that in Saudi Arabia petrochemical companies such as Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co and blue chip Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) were down 0.3 and 0.2 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, the index received some support from shares in Saudi Arabia’s retailer and mall developer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair, which jumped 9.9 percent after the company reported a first-quarter net profit of 249.2 million riyals ($66.45 million) versus 232.4 million riyals one year earlier. The company’s financial year ends on March 31.

Bupa Arabia For Cooperative Insurance Co was another strong performer in early trade, as the insurer posted a second-quarter net profit of shareholder capital investment of 23.2 million riyals against 16.6 million riyals during the same period a year earlier. Shares in the company soared 10 percent.

Saudi banks were mixed, with Alinma Bank up 0.3 percent and Saudi British Bank (SABB) down 2 percent, although trading volume for Alinma was among the highest while volumes were thin on SABB.

The Abu Dhabi index was down 0.1 percent, dragged by RAK Properties, which on Sunday posted a drop in profit for the first half of the year to 29 million dirhams ($7.90 million) from 61.7 million dirhams for the same period one year earlier. Shares in the developer dropped 3 percent.

In Dubai, where the index was up 0.2 percent, most trading volume was concentrated on Drake and Scull International (DSI), which was up 1.4 percent.

The company has been lagging because of concerns about its financial position, business outlook and the outcome of an investigation by United Arab Emirates authorities into financial violations by previous management. It was up 1.4 percent on Sunday. (Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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