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Most Middle East stock markets move sideways

(8/10/2017 6:17:00 AM)

Middle Eastern stock markets generally moved sideways in quiet trade yesterday, outperforming other emerging markets, though Dubai theme park operator DXB Entertainments sank because of poor first-half earnings.

The Gulf has underperformed global emerging markets this year, hit by low oil prices and government austerity policies.

But this may have left the Gulf less vulnerable to a pull-back as MSCI’s emerging market index dropped 0.9 percent yesterday, partly because of tensions between the United States and North Korea.

Dubai’s stock index edged down 0.1 percent as DXBE fell 2.5 percent after reporting a first-half net loss of AED578m ($157m). The company has not made a profit since it opened its first theme parks and hotels in October 2016. The company said it was reorganising its business into three units: theme parks, family entertainment centres, and retail and hospitality. It also announced an agreement with local developer Meraas to manage its portfolio of leisure and entertainment offerings including Hub Zero, Splash Pad and Roxy Cinemas.

Builder Arabtec fell 2.3 percent, despite saying it swung to a net profit attributable to the parent of AED39.8m in the three months to June 30 from a loss of AED186.4m a year ago. In Abu Dhabi, the index was down 0.7 percent as Dana Gas fell 1.5 percent.

Qatar’s largest petrochemical producer, Industries Qatar, dropped 1.5 percent after its second-quarter net profit shrank 47 percent from a year earlier to QR682m ($187m), missing analysts’ average forecast of QR787m. Qatar Stock Exchange’s main index was down 0.7 percent.

In Saudi Arabia, the index edged up 0.1 percent as petrochemical maker PetroRabigh jumped 6.9 percent in its heaviest trade since mid-May after reporting that second-quarter net profit more than tripled from a year earlier.

Ethylene producer National Petrochemical (Petrochem) rose 3.2 percent. It reported a net profit of SR132.3m ($35.3m), shrinking by about a third from a year ago, but attributed this to an unplanned shutdown of one of its plants in May and higher financing costs. Petrochem’s majority shareholder, Saudi Industrial Investment Group, lost 1.6 percent after its quarterly net income fell 54 percent.

Egypt’s index dropped 0.4 percent as property developer Emaar Misr jumped 4.7 percent to 2.65 Egyptian pounds.

The Peninsula