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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi near flat on varying Q1 results, Qatar rebounds in otherwise quiet region
May 10, 2017 / 1:58 PM / 5 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi near flat on varying Q1 results, Qatar rebounds in otherwise quiet region

* Saudi Electricity up after swinging to Q1 net profit

* Saudi Cement rises as it trades at discount to peers

* Builder Al Khodari down on Q1 net loss

* DXB Entertainments weighs on Dubai on wider Q1 net loss

* Qatar strengthens as investors buy on price dips

* Egypt up as OTMT rises for fourth day

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, May 10 (Reuters) - First quarter results from major companies drove trading on Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange on Wednesday, with the Riyadh index edging 0.2 percent higher, while Qatar’s bourse outperformed as investors bought shares on recent price dips.

Majority state-owned Saudi Electricity (SEC) rose 2.2 percent in trading that exceeded its one-month average daily volume after the company swung to a net profit of 4.94 billion riyals in the first quarter.

The company attributed the jump to the cancellation of accounts payable for municipality fees, as a result of a royal decree issued this year exempting the company from paying them.

Shares of Saudi Cement, whose net income fell by almost a third in the first quarter from the year ago period, rose 1.0 percent. The results are broadly in line with analysts’ estimates, but is trading at a slight discount to its peers, offering investors some value to hold onto the share.

Shares of construction firm Al Khodari, however, fell 1.7 percent to 11.30 riyals after it swung to a net loss of 17.8 million riyals compared to a net profit of 2.2 million riyals in same period last year. Analysts at EFG Hermes had forecast a net loss of 38.0 million riyals during the period.

Al Khodari, which has ongoing projects with the government, attributed the poor results to a 50 percent decline in revenue, slow progress on ongoing projects, a decline in new project awards and liquidity challenges in the industry as a whole.

The firm said some changes to its financial statements had been made as a result of its adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) from Jan. 1.

This was the first quarter companies reported in accordance with IFRS and the impact on the bottom line has been variable.

“Asset-heavy companies were impacted negatively, including cement and petrochemicals,” said a Riyadh based equity analyst.

IFRS requires assets to be priced at current market value and that any impairment charges to be reflected in the income statement, which becomes burdensome on companies which have very old assets.

Saudi International Petrochemical (Sipchem) lost 2.0 percent after reporting broadly in-line first quarter results, with net income almost doubling from the year ago period and almost tripling from the previous quarter.

“We believe better than expected sales were offset by higher than expected non-operating expenses,” said a note by Riyadh based NCB Capital.

Elsewhere, Dubai’s index lost 0.4 percent, with amusement park operator DXB Entertainments dropping 5.0 percent after it said net losses widened to 287.4 million dirhams in the first quarter.

DXBE’s chief executive said the loss, in only its second quarter of results, reflected the “normal trajectory of a business in its early phase of development”.

The company said it expected a dip in footfalls in the coming two quarters.

Abu Dhabi’s main index barely moved as real estate related shares diverged -- Aldar Properties rose 0.9 percent while RAK Properties fell 1.6 percent.

QATAR, EGYPT

In Qatar, the index rebounded 1.3 percent, pulling further away from a five-month low hit earlier this week. Telecommunication operators were some of the top movers, with Ooredoo climbing 2.6 percent.

Egypt’s index added 0.5 percent to 12,993 points, climbing back towards an all-time peak hit in mid-January. Foreign funds were net buyers on Wednesday, while local traders were net sellers, bourse data showed.

Orascom Telecom, the most heavily traded share on the exchange, rose 1.4 percent. Shares in the company have now risen in four consecutive sessions as investors react positively to the company swinging to profitability in 2016.

HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index added 0.2 percent to 6,930 points.

DUBAI

* The index fell 0.4 percent to 3,395 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index edged down 0.06 percent to 4,582 points.

QATAR

* The index rose 1.3 percent to 9,992 points.

EGYPT

* The index added 0.5 percent to 12,993 points.

KUWAIT

* The index rose 0.9 percent to 6,656 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index fell 0.6 percent to 1,308 points.

OMAN

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 5,430 points. ($1 = 3.7502 riyals)

Editing by Catherine Evans

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