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Saudi stocks get a boost from banking sector

Saudi stocks get a boost from banking sector

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s stock market edged up on the back of modest gains in the banking sector on Sunday while Egypt imitated world markets’ strong finish at the end of last week. Most other Middle Eastern bourses fell. The Saudi stock benchmark Tadawul All Share Index added 0.1 percent to 7,094 points, remaining near a six-week low, as Samba Financial Group jumped 3.4 percent after its board recommended a cash dividend of SR0.75 for the first half of the year. The proposed cash outlay is two-thirds more than Samba’s interim payout in 2016. Gulf General Cooperative Insurance jumped 4.6 percent after reporting a slight dip in second-quarter earnings, while Allianz Saudi Fransi Cooperative Insurance rose 0.7 percent after announcing a 24 percent jump in net income. Emaar the Economic City dropped 3.1 percent after it reported an 85.4 percent drop in second-quarter net profit, citing lower residential sales and higher financial charges. Al Andalus Property fell 1.2 percent. It reported second-quarter net profit of SR27.6 million, up 11 percent from the same period last year. Elsewhere, Qatar’s index dropped 0.6 percent with 15 of the 20 largest companies falling. Telecommunications operator Ooredoo was the biggest loser, falling 3.0 percent. In the United Arab Emirates, Dana Gas lost 1.5 percent, helping drag Abu Dhabi’s index 0.2 percent lower.

Dubai’s index fell 0.3 percent, snapping five straight sessions of modest gains. Union Properties, the most heavily traded stock, lost 1.3 percent and Emaar Malls Group fell 0.4 percent ahead of the release of its quarterly earnings. In Egypt, private equity firm Qalaa Holdings added 2.7 percent; the stock has risen 10.7 percent in the past four days after a Kenyan court ended the company’s troubled Rift Valley Railways’ concession and ordered that assets and employees be handed over to Kenya Railways. The company said its investment have been amortised so the transfer wouldn’t affect its consolidated earnings. Some investors believe terminating the investment could reduce a financial drain on Qalaa and help it focus management attention on more profitable areas. Most other Egyptian shares were also strong, taking their cue from the positive mood in global equities. The index rose 1.1 percent.