Gulf shares hardly move on opening trade

Gulf stock markets were little moved in early trade on Wednesday, dampened by weak oil prices and mixed second-quarter earnings in Saudi Arabia, while Dubai’s Emaar Properties again pulled back from major technical resistance.

The Dubai index edged down 0.2 per cent as Emaar, which has since last week been testing resistance on its October peak of Dh7.01, slipped 0.6 per cent to Dh6.86.

Logistics company Aramex dropped 0.8 per cent after jumping 5.5 per cent on Tuesday.

Dubai Islamic Bank added 0.6 per cent after posting a 3 per cent increase in second-quarter net profit, broadly in line with analysts’ forecasts.

In Saudi Arabia, retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Company jumped 6.9 per cent after reporting a 0.9 per cent year-on-year rise in net profit for the latest quarter to 212.6 million Saudi riyals.

EFG Hermes had forecast 170.1m riyals and NCB Capital 190m riyals.

Low-cost retailer Abdullah Al Othaim dropped 1.5 per cent after posting a 9.6 per cent drop in quarterly profit, citing higher personnel and promotional expenses as well as rises in transport and electricity costs due to austerity measures in the 2016 state budget.

Saudi Telecom sank 1.2 per cent after reporting a 27.1 per cent year-on-year fall in quarterly profit to 1.87 billion riyals. Analysts had on average forecast 2.37bn riyals.

National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia rose 0.8 per cent after reporting a 47.2 per cent leap in profit to 504.18m riyals. Alistithmar Capital had forecast 308.4m riyals.

National Commercial Bank was flat after its board recommended paying a cash dividend of 0.60 riyal per share for the first half of 2016, down from 0.80 riyal a year earlier.

Abu Dhabi’s index edged up 0.1 per cent, buoyed by a 1.7 per cent gain in Aldar Properties after the company said it would expand its retail business in the city of Al Ain.

Qatar’s index dropped 0.5 per cent in a broad-based decline, although telecommunications operator Ooredoo rose 0.3 per cent after reporting a 16.4 per cent gain in second-quarter net profit, in line with estimates, buoyed by its Asian businesses.

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