Gulf markets inch higher as trading volume shrinks
December 18 2016 11:10 PM
A Saudi investor monitors shares at the Saudi Stock Exchange, or Tadawul (file). Saudi Arabian petrochemical shares were bid up yesterday with all 14 listed producers advancing, pulling the main Saudi stock index 0.7% higher.


Stock markets in the Gulf posted small gains yesterday after crude oil prices climbed back towards 17-month highs at the end of last week, but trading volumes shrank across the region.
Foreign buyers continued to bid up shares in Egypt.
Brent futures rose 2.2% to settle at $55.21 a barrel on Friday after Goldman Sachs boosted its price forecast for 2017 and producers showed signs of adhering to a global deal to reduce output.
Saudi Arabian petrochemical shares were bid up yesterday with all 14 listed producers advancing, pulling the main Saudi stock index 0.7% higher. Mid-sized producer Sahara Petrochemical was the top performer, jumping 7.1%.
Saudi Cable Co rose 2.5% after saying its Turkish subsidiary had won a $50mn order, with the financial impact to start appearing by the end of the second quarter next year.
Commodities transportation company National Shipping Co (Bahri) climbed 1.5% after it announced its board had proposed a cash dividend of 2.5 riyals per share for 2016, in line with 2015.
Its dividend yield is at 6.0%, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Dubai’s main index closed almost flat as trading volume fell to the lowest in five weeks, suggesting that many institutional traders, which played a major role last week, were largely absent yesterday.
Emaar Malls Group rebounded 2.7% but builder Drake & Scull, the most heavily traded share, slipped 0.4%.
Blue chips helped carry Abu Dhabi’s index 0.8% higher. Dana Gas rose 1.9% and First Gulf Bank climbed 2.0%.
Stock markets in Bahrain and Qatar were closed for national holidays.
Cairo’s main index rose 0.6% to 11,398 points, but trading volume was the lowest since the central bank floated the Egyptian pound on November 3, triggering a bull market. Foreign investors remained net buyers of Egyptian shares by a small margin, continuing a trend which began with the currency float, bourse data showed.
Orascom Telecom, the most heavily traded share, added 2.6% and Ezz Steel jumped 10%.
Ezz reported sharply higher third-quarter sales at the end of last week, though it continued to make a loss.
But Qalaa Holdings slumped 3.3% after the company reported a wider third-quarter net loss of 208mn Egyptian pounds ($11.2mn) against a loss 136mn pounds a year earlier.
Analysts at Naeem Brokerage said in a note that the results were due to weak operating performance at both continuing and discontinued operations, impairments, and high interest costs, adding that they anticipated more “painful exits and impairments” in the next quarter.
“Fourth-quarter results could be impacted by translationary FX losses as a result of the recent EGP float, originating from its foreign currency-denominated debt of around $2.1bn,” Naeem said.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Kuwait’s index lost 0.3% to 5,651 points, while Oman’s index slipped a mere 0.01% to 5,728 points.

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