August 5, 2018 / 12:54 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf insurers jump on Q2 results, petchems down on oil

* Positive Q2 results partly offset impact of lower oil prices

* Petchems down in Saudi Arabia

* Alhokair Co soars after posting quarterly profit rise

* Insurers up in Saudi and Dubai on profit jumps

* RAK Properties pulls down Abu Dhabi

By Davide Barbuscia

DUBAI, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Gulf stocks were mixed on Sunday, with some companies’ positive financial results offsetting a bearish background due to persisting global trade concerns and lower oil prices.

Oil gave up earlier gains late last week 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.

As a result, some Saudi petrochemical companies shed value. Blue chip Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) lost 0.3 percent, while Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co and Methanol Chemicals Co dropped 1.1 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Boosted by positive financial results, Saudi Arabia’s retailer and mall developer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co was among the best performers, jumping 9.9 percent after it 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.

The best performer was Bupa Arabia for Cooperative Insurance Co, which soared 10 percent after posting a second-quarter net profit of shareholder capital investment of 23.2 million riyals against 16.6 million riyals during the same period one year earlier.

This lifted other insurers, with Company for Cooperative Insurance jumping 9.3 percent.

In Dubai, where the index was up 0.1 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 gained 1.4 percent on Sunday.

Insurers were up in Dubai too, with Takaful Emarat Insurance rising 3.3 percent – the best performing stock. The company last week posted a second-quarter net profit attributable to shareholders of 347 million dirhams ($94.48 million), up from 253 million dirhams one year earlier.

It was followed by Dar Al Takaful, up 2.1 percent, and Dubai Islamic Insurance and Reinsurance Co, which gained 2 percent.

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

In Qatar, the index lost 0.9 percent, as Qatari banks – including heavyweight Qatar National Bank - shed value. The lender lost 2.2 percent, while Commercial Bank and Masraf Al Rayan lost 1.5 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index lost 0.1 percent to 8,243 points.

DUBAI

* The index gains 0.1 percent to 2,978 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index sheds 0.1 percent to 4,806 points.

QATAR

* The index loses 0.9 percent to 9,897 points.

KUWAIT

* The index rose 1.1 percent to 5,410 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index gained 0.3 percent to 1,354 points.

OMAN

* The index added 1 percent to 4,370 points.

EGYPT

* The index shed 0.4 percent to 15,737 points.

$1 = 3.7503 riyals $1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; editing by David Evans

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