February 13, 2019 / 1:38 PM / 5 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks drag Qatar to 3-month low, Saudi gains

    * 15 of 20 stocks on Qatar index slide
    * Vodafone Qatar climbs after FY results
    * Saudi's Sipchem gains on higher FY profit
    * Egypt's Arabia Cotton jumps on higher H1 results

    By Shakeel Ahmad
    Feb 13 (Reuters) - The Qatar stock market slid to a near
three-month low on Wednesday, dragged down by its blue-chip
banking shares, while Saudi Arabia crept higher, aided by
petrochemicals. 
    Qatar's index fell for a sixth straight day,
declining 1.2 percent, and lenders Masraf Al Rayan and
Qatar Islamic Bank dropped by 2.8 percent and 2.6
percent respectively. 
    Major Middle East petrochemical maker Industries Qatar
 shed 2.2 percent despite reporting a 52 percent surge
in annual net profit.
    Qatar's blue-chips stocks have witnessed heavy selling, as
investors are now looking to allocate money to other regional
markets like Saudi, Kuwait and Egypt that offer better
valuations along with some short-term catalysts, an analyst at
Al Mal Capital has said. 
    Most of Qatar's heavyweights closed in the red last week,
with Qatari nationals being net sellers, according to a SICO
Research note.
    However, Vodafone Qatar climbed 2.5 percent in
active trade on Wednesday after it reported its first ever
annual profit, of 374 million riyal ($103 million) for 2018.
    Saudi Arabia's index added 0.2 percent, with Banque
Saudi Fransi rising 3 percent and petrochemical firm
Saudi Basic Industries gaining 0.5 percent.
    The Saudi index has gained 9.4 percent in the last month,
led mainly by foreigners buying close to 4.4 billion riyals 
($1.17 billion), according to SICO Research. 
    Banks have been the key sector leading the rally, even as
most petrochemical names underperformed, SICO added. 
    Saudi International Petrochemical climbed 1.6
percent after it reported a full-year net profit of 583 million
riyals, up from 437.4 million riyals a year earlier.
    But construction company Abdullah Abdul Mohsin Al Khodari
Sons slumped 10 percent to hit its lowest since its
listing in 2010. The firm said its accumulated losses reached
1.11 bln riyals, representing 198.5 percent of its capital.

    In Dubai, the index was up 0.3 percent with its
biggest lender Emirates NBD gaining 1 percent.
    Developers Deyaar Development and DAMAC Properties
 rose 2.9 percent and 1.7 percent respectively. 
    Builder Arabtec added 0.5 percent as its annual
profit and proposed dividend more than doubled. Arabtec proposed
a dividend of 5 fils per share for 2018, up from 2.05 fils a
year ago.
    The Abu Dhabi index traded flat with the emirate's
largest developer Aldar Properties gaining 3.5 percent
ahead of a board meeting later on Wednesday to discuss full-year
results, which would then be published.
    Dana Gas added 3.1 percent. The firm will begin
drilling this year in an area it says could become Egypt's next
giant Mediterranean gas field, after seismic data pointed to
reserves as large as 20 trillion cubic feet, Reuters reported.

    Egypt's blue-chip index was also flat, but Arabia
Cotton Ginning jumped 10 percent on higher half-year
standalone profit and revenue. 
    Orascom Investment Holding climbed 3.4 percent
after comments by its chairman on possible investments in
Venezuela and North Korea.
 SAUDI      The index         rose 0.2 pct to 8,617 points
 ARABIA     
 DUBAI      The index          rose 0.3 pct to 2,493 points
 ABU DHABI  The index        was flat at 5,027 points
 QATAR      The index        fell 1.2 pct to 10,181 points
 EGYPT      The index          was flat at 14,949 points
 KUWAIT     The index        fell 0.7 pct to 5,469 points
 OMAN       The index        fell 0.2 pct to 4,115 points
 BAHRAIN    The index        fell 1.1 pct to 1,374 points
 
($1 = 3.7502 riyals)


($1 = 3.6405 Qatar riyals)

 (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan
Fenton)
  
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