Amwal Al Ghad English - 2016-02-08 18:48:36
Several major stock markets in the Middle East edged higher Monday as local investors bought back shares, though blue-chip banks weighed on Abu Dhabi.
Equity markets in the region, where government revenues largely depend on petrodollars, have been struggling to break free of the negative impact of weak oil prices.
"Investors' propensity to react to changes in oil prices has increased," said a Riyadh-based analyst, noting even a slight change in rhetoric between OPEC and non-OPEC producers can send crude prices up or down and with it Gulf stock markets.
Brent futures were trading slightly firmer at a little over $34 a barrel for most of the Gulf day. This helped Saudi Arabia's stock index close 0.2 percent higher at 5,906 points, though it came well off a session high of 5,972 points after oil prices pulled back.
The petrochemical sector, which has been the main drag on the bourse this year, slid 0.5 percent. But small and mid-cap stocks favoured by the local traders were strong. Insurers Al Sagr Cooperative Insurance and Solidarity Saudi Takaful each surged more than 8.0 percent.
Dubai's index climbed 1.9 percent on higher trading volumes than in the previous session, trimming its losses for 2016 to 1.8 percent.
Emaar Malls closed flat at 2.49 dirhams after reaching a session high of 2.58 dirhams. The blue-chip retailer reported a 5.5 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit to 435 million dirhams ($118 million).
Emaar Properties, the majority shareholder in Emaar Malls, surged 3.1 percent on its third day of gains. Dubai's largest developer by market capitalisation is expected to file its quarterly earnings in the coming days.
Air Arabia edged up 0.8 percent. The United Arab Emirates' only publicly listed airline reported its third consecutive quarterly profit drop on Sunday with a net profit of 59 million dirhams, below SICO Bahrain's estimate of 79.3 million dirhams.
DAMAC Properties and Shuaa Capital, shares favoured by local traders, each jumped more than 3.5 percent.
Abu Dhabi's index closed flat at 4,103 points, 33 points below its intra-day high. The benchmark has fallen 4.7 percent this year.
The banking sector was the main drag, with Union National Bank and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank falling 3.7 and 1.4 percent respectively. UNB reported that its net profit dropped to 1.86 billion dirhams last year from 2.02 billion dirhams in 2014 because of higher impairment charges.
Doha's index rose 0.8 percent with Barwa Real Estate surging 9.3 percent in unusually heavy trade. Blue-chip banks also lifted the market, with Qatar Islamic Bank advancing 1.6 percent.
Qatar Gas Transport, a natural gas carrier, added 1.7 percent. More»