July 1, 2018 / 8:16 AM / 9 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stocks up on higher oil prices; Saudi’s Alhokair plunges

DUBAI, July 1 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets opened on a positive note on Sunday, boosted by a surge in oil prices and mirroring a rally in global stocks late last week.

Oil prices rose on Friday on concerns that U.S. sanctions against Iran would remove a substantial volume of crude oil from world markets at a time of rising global demand.

The Saudi index was up 0.4 percent in the first half hour of trading, lifted by gains across the banking and the petrochemical sectors.

Stocks in Alinma Bank and Bank Aljazira were up 0.7 percent and 1 percent, respectively, and were among the shares registering the highest trading volume.

Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co., also among the most traded stocks, was up 1 percent, while heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corporation climbed 0.2 percent.

The worst performer was Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co. , as stocks in the Saudi retailer plunged 8 percent after the company reported its annual financial results late last week.

Net profit for the year ending on March 31 2018 declined 76 percent, to 103.5 million riyals ($27.60 million) from 425.3 million riyals the previous year, it said.

Markets were up across the region, with both the Dubai index and the Abu Dhabi index up 1 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, Eshraq Properties was up 3.3 percent in early trade. The real estate developer said last week it was seeking to deploy “excess liquidity” in investments across the United Arab Emirates, after dropping merger plans with Abu Dhabi developer Reem Investments.

It also said last week it has no exposure to Dubai’s private equity company Abraaj Group.

In Dubai, trading volume was concentrated on contractor Drake & Scull (DSI), which was up 0.9 percent, as the company continued to reverse some of its earlier losses that sent the share price to 0.70 dirhams ($0.18), its lowest ever.

DSI shares fell last week, before a rebound on Thursday, and are down more than 60 percent so far this year, as retail investors offloaded it amid concerns about its business outlook and an investigation into its former management team.

The firm said last week that the recent sell-off in its shares was not related to any major news.

$1 = 3.7503 riyals Reporting by Davide Barbuscia. Editing by Jane Merriman

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