October 30, 2017 / 2:20 PM / 21 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi soft despite SABIC beat, Emaar drags down Dubai

* Saudi’s SABIC gains 0.6 percent on quarterly earnings

* But this fails to lift petrochemical sector as a whole

* Dubai’s GFH Financial rises as it may list in Saudi

* Ooredoo rises 3.0 percent in Qatar despite earnings miss

* Orascom Telecom pulls Egypt higher

By Aziz El Yaakoubi

DUBAI, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s stock market was soft on Monday despite strong earnings at Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), while Emaar Properties dragged down Dubai’s index.

The Saudi index edged down 0.2 percent. SABIC, the biggest petrochemical producer, gained 0.6 percent after reporting a 10.7 percent rise in third-quarter net profit to 5.79 billion riyals ($1.54 billion); analysts had on average forecast 4.27 billion riyals.

SABIC cited higher average selling prices and higher sales quantities, but this - and Brent crude oil’s rise above $60 a barrel at the end of last week for the first time since 2015 - failed to boost the petrochemical sector as a whole.

PetroRabigh fell 0.5 percent, Petrochem lost 1.3 percent and Saudi Kayan dropped 2.2 percent in unusually heavy trade. But Arabian Pipes, a supplier to the oil and refining industries, jumped 6.4 percent.

Most Saudi cement makers fell in heavy trade with Northern Cement losing 2.9 percent and Najran Cement falling 2.0 percent.

Insurers and banks were the most active stocks in Riyadh. Alinmaa Bank lost 1.1 percent while National Commercial Bank, the kingdom’s largest lender, was almost flat.

Malath Cooperative insurance jumped 5.7 percent after reporting third-quarter earnings rose from a low base.

The Dubai index edged down 0.3 percent as real estate giant Emaar Properties lost 1.4 percent. This offset gains by several other stocks such as GFH Financial, which rose 1.2 percent after saying it may list its shares in Saudi Arabia.

Emirates NBD also gained 1.2 percent. The bank, Dubai’s largest lender, posted a 2.28 billion dirham ($620.8 million) net profit for its third quarter, up from 1.66 billion dirhams a year ago; EFG Hermes had predicted 1.85 billion dirhams and SICO Bahrain 1.89 billion.

Qatar’s index rose 0.8 percent as Qatar Islamic Bank gained 1.6 percent and telecommunications firm Ooredoo jumped 3.0 percent despite missing analysts’ estimates.

The company reported a net profit attributable to shareholders of 462 million riyals ($127 million) in the third quarter, below SICO Bahrain’s projection of 517.7 million riyals and EFG Hermes at 533.7 million.

But Qatar First Bank rebounded 0.2 percent after losing 3.3 percent on Sunday in response to a big nine-month net loss.

In Kuwait, telecommunications firm Zain fell a further 2.6 percent on Monday. On Sunday, it had lost 3.3 percent after reporting net income fell 7 percent in the third quarter, in line with analysts’ forecasts.

The Kuwaiti stock index slipped 0.7 percent. After the close, Kuwait’s ruling emir accepted the resignation of the prime minister and his cabinet, asking them to continue important duties until a new cabinet could be sworn in.

Lawmakers were preparing to discuss a no-confidence vote in Information Minister Sheikh Mohammed al-Sabah after he was questioned over violations of budgetary and legislative rules, Kuwait Times said. The cabinet’s resignation may have been related to this, but the stock market was not expected to be affected much; such episodes are common in Kuwaiti politics.

In Egypt, the index surged 1.2 percent as Orascom Telecom jumped 7.6 percent in heavy trade. Egyptian Chemical Industries surged 6.2 percent after its quarterly net profit more than doubled from a year earlier.

HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index fell 0.2 percent to 6,945 points.

DUBAI

* The index fell 0.3 percent to 3,630 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 4,457 points.

QATAR

* The index rose 0.8 percent to 8,197 points.

EGYPT

* The index gained 1.2 percent to 14,197 points.

KUWAIT

* The index dropped 0.7 percent to 6,562 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index edged down 0.02 percent to 1,276 points.

OMAN

* The index rose 0.3 percent to 4,982 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia, Larry King)

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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