Regional

Shares fall as GCC giants release second-quarter results

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s stock market slid Sunday as better-than-expected earnings from Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the largest listed company in the Gulf, failed to lift investor sentiment. The mood among investors was not helped by a decline in oil prices, weighed down by a fall in the U.S. equities market.

Shares in SABIC were flat after the company reported an 81 percent year-on-year jump in second-quarter net profit to 6.7 billion riyals ($1.8 billion). Analysts had on average expected 5.8 billion riyals.

While some analysts believe the stock is overvalued, it is expected to attract further buying by foreign passive funds in anticipation of the Saudi market’s entry into the MSCI and FTSE Russell emerging market indexes next year.

Saudi Electricity Co., the Gulf’s largest utility firm, sank by 4.3 percent after reporting a 17.3 percent drop in second-quarter net profit as revenues from electricity services fell and financing costs rose. The results fell short of two analysts’ forecasts.

Saudi Industrial Investment Group fell 7.4 percent, despite reporting a big leap in second-quarter net profit to 321 million riyals, ahead of two analysts’ forecasts. The main stock index closed down 0.7 percent.

In Dubai, the main index slipped 0.2 percent, while Emaar Properties fell 1.7 percent and Dubai Investments closed down 1.5 percent. Emaar is expected to report its second-quarter results this week.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank edged up 1.0 percent after reporting a 12 percent rise in second-quarter net profit Thursday. First Abu Dhabi Bank dropped 0.7 percent, continuing a decline from the end of last week after reporting a 19 percent year-on-year gain in quarterly profit.

The main Abu Dhabi index edged down 0.3 percent.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 30, 2018, on page 4.

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