Earnings season lifts Saudis; major Gulf markets drop

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Saudi Arabian stocks inched up in early trading on Tuesday, lifted by a slew of corporate announcements, while most major Middle Eastern markets slipped.

Saudi Arabia’s main index <.TASI> added 0.2 percent, with Petrochemical investor Alujain <2170.SE> jumping 4.9 percent after an update on the fire at its affiliate’s plant.

The fire broke out on Oct. 2 at its unit’s NATPET plant and halted production. The company said it now expects the NATPET plant to start operating all units by the end of September.

Saudi Steel Pipes <1320.SE> rose 3.3 percent in active trade. The company said Tenaris <TENR.MI> completed the acquisition of 47.8 percent of Saudi Steel shares.

Saudi Arabia Fertilizers <2020.SE> rose 1.8 percent after posting a jump in its fourth-quarter net profit and sales.

The Dubai index <.DFMGI>, which is down 1.5 percent this month, slid 0.3 percent, pulled down its property stocks. Dubai property prices have fallen since a mid-2014 peak, hurt by weaker oil prices and muted sales.

Emaar Properties <EMAR.DU> lost 0.3 percent and developer DAMAC Properties <DAMAC.DU> fell 1.7 percent. Emaar and state-owned developer Nakheel have put plans to issue U.S. dollar-denominated bonds on hold, Reuters reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Qatar’s index <.QSI> slipped 0.4 percent, partly from a 1.5 percent drop in lender Masraf Al Rayan <MARK.QA>, despite reporting a 6.8 percent increase in its fourth-quarter net profit, according to Reuters calculations, in line with forecasts.

Industries Qatar <IQCD.QA> fell 0.8 percent and Qatar Islamic Bank <QISB.QA> slid 0.6 percent.

Abu Dhabi’s index <.ADI> edged down 0.1 percent, with Emirates Telecommunications <ETEL.AD> shedding 0.1 percent and Sharjah Cement <SCID.AD> decreasing 8.7 percent.

(Reuters)

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