July 31, 2019 / 1:41 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Petchems lead Saudi lower, financials drag down Qatar

    * Saudi's Samba falls as it traded ex-dividend
    * Ataa Educational jumps on first day of trading
    * Qatar Insurance drops on earnings miss
    * Egypt's Qalaa plunges on stake dilution in Egyptian
Refining

    By Shakeel Ahmad and Maqsood alam
    July 31 (Reuters) - Saudi stocks dropped on Wednesday as
losses in petrochemical shares outweighed earnings-fuelled gains
in some banking stocks, while Qatar Insurance pulled the Qatari
market down.
    Saudi's index slipped 0.1%, with petrochemical maker
Saudi Basic Industries Co shedding 1.1% after earlier
this week reporting its lowest quarterly profit since late 2009.
    The kingdom has returned to deficit in the second quarter
after posting its first surplus in the first quarter since 2014,
as oil revenues fell 5% and non-oil revenues declined 4%.
 
    Samba Financial Group fell 1.2% as the lender was
trading ex-dividend.
    But some banks rose in the wake of strong second-quarter
earnings. National Commercial Bank gained 0.7% after
posting a 24% rise in second-quarter profit, helped by higher
fee and commission income and lower expenses.
    Saudi banks have benefited from higher interest rates and
increased demand for loans to support housing and
government-related projects.
    Ataa Educational also surged 10% on its first day
of trading. The school network operator offered 12 million
shares representing 30% of its share capital at a price of 29
riyals per share.
    Qatar's index was 0.8% lower, with Qatar Insurance
 the biggest drag, falling 3.6%. 
    It reported first-half profit of 410 million riyals
including 266 million riyals for the first quarter, indicating
earnings reached 144 million in the April to June period. 
    EFG Hermes had forecast a profit of 209 million riyals for
the second quarter. 
    Petrochemical maker Industries Qatar dropped 1.1%
before its earnings report on Thursday. EFG Hermes forecast a
47% plunge in its second-quarter profit.
    Dubai's index was up 0.2%. Emaar Properties
 rose 1.7% to its highest since June 14 last year. 
    The developer has climbed in recent sessions after signing a
memorandum of understanding for an $11 billion project at
Beijing's new airport.
    Emirates NBD traded 1.7% higher. After the market
closed, the lender said it had completed the acquisition of
Turkey's fifth largest private bank, Denizbank, in a deal valued
at 15.48 billion lira ($2.80 billion).
    Egypt's blue-chip index closed 0.2% higher with the
market heavyweight Commercial International Bank
rising 3.2%.
    Qalaa Holdings however plunged 9.9% after saying
its indirect ownership in Egyptian Refining Company had been
diluted to 13.14% over a couple of years.    
    Abu Dhabi index fell 0.3%, hurt by a 1.6% drop in
Emirates Telecommunications Group.
 
($1 = 5.5264 liras)   
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         was down 0.1% to 8,733 points
 ABU DHBAI     The index        lost 0.3% to 5,318 points
 DUBAI         The index          rose 0.2% to 2,918 points
 QATAR         The index        fell 0.8% to 10,505 points
 EGYPT         The index          was up 0.2% to 13,392 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        was up 0.1% to 1,548 points
 OMAN          The index        was up 0.1% to 3,761 points
 KUWAIT        The index        edged up 0.1% to 6,744 points
 
 (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad and Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru;
Editing by Jan Harvey)
  
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