Strong corporate earnings in Saudi Arabia and Oman Gulf have resulted in a rise in stock markets on Thursday, as Egypt ascended moderately with foreign investors accumulating shares.
Saudi companies usually reveal first-quarter earnings slightly earlier than firms elsewhere in the Gulf, and some positive surprises indicate that the damage to the region instigated by low oil prices may not be quite as bad as feared.
Petrochemical firm Yanbu (Yansab) jumped 1.2 percent after it reported a 41-percent rise in net profit to 402 million riyals ($107 million), far exceeding analyst forecasts.
Riyad Bank advanced 0.5 percent after it posted a 0.2 percent rise in first-quarter net profit to 1.2 billion riyals ($321 million), beating analysts’ average forecast of 962 million riyals.
Seven of the 12 banks on the Saudi bourse have now reported earnings, with most beating forecasts.
The banking sub-index jumped 2.0 percent in its third straight session of gains. Riyadh’s overall stock index rose 1.0 percent to 6,509 points, a three-month high.
As for Oman, two Omani telecommunications companies reported earnings which outdid analysts’ expectations, helping to boost the Muscat index 0.5 percent.
Oman Telecommunications (Omantel) rose 0.3 percent after it reported a 0.6 percent rise in first-quarter net profit to 35 million rials ($91 million); analysts at EFG Hermes and Gulf Baader Capital Markets had forecast 29 million rials and 28 million rials.
Ooredoo Oman jumped 2.8 percent after it made a quarterly net profit of 13 million rials, a 18 percent rise; Gulf Baader had forecast 11 million rials.
In Dubai, where companies have yet to report first-quarter earnings, the index rose 1.3 percent, lifted by a 5.8 percent jump in Emaar Properties.
Investors seemed to welcome the company’s announcement that it plans to split with its Indian joint venture partner through a split process. Also, longer-term investors may be going back into Dubai blue chips with the recovery of oil prices and improved market mood.
Other Dubai large-cap stocks, which had been relatively subdued over the past several weeks, also gained. Dubai Financial Market, the only listed exchange in the region, rose 3.3 percent.
Abu Dhabi’s index advanced 1.8 percent as investors bought blue chips. Telecommunications giant Etisalat and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank climbed 2.2 and 1.5 percent respectively.
In Cairo, the main stock index surged 0.6 percent as foreign traders bought back shares on dips. Investment firm EFG Hermes and Palm Hills Development jumped 4.2 and 2.6 percent.
Oriental Weavers climbed 1.4 percent after saying it would pay a dividend of 0.5 Egyptian pound per share on April 28, up from 0.4 pound a year earlier.
But Orascom Telecom Media, the most heavily traded stock, slipped 2.6 percent after the head of Egypt’s financial regulatory body said the acquisition of CI Capital by Orascom’s unit Beltone Financial would be postponed awaiting the resolution of a court case involving shareholders of CI Capital and its parent Commercial International Bank (CIB).
A top Beltone executive told Reuters that his company had extended its offer for CI Capital by 14 days to April 28 and was determined to conclude the deal, but that if it fell through, Beltone would still seek to expand and look at another acquisition.
Beltone shares rose sharply early on but all those trades were later cancelled by the regulator because of the uncertainty; it was the third straight day that the stock was suspended. CIB fell 0.6 percent.