Most stock markets in the Gulf fell slightly on Wednesday with Saudi Arabia's telecommunications and food shares selling off after mixed earnings, while Egypt followed global shares lower.
The Saudi telecommunications sub-index dropped 3.3 percent, helping to push the overall stock index down 0.3 percent to 6,512 points.
Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) dropped 7.8 percent to SR29.50 despite swinging to a first-quarter profit of SR16.6 million ($4.43 million) from a loss of SR44.5 million in the prior-year first quarter.
Analysts at NCB Capital had forecast it would make a net profit of SR201.1 million for the period, but EFG Hermes had expected a net loss of SR4.59 million.
Revenues of SR3.4 billion were down 6 percent from a year ago — the lowest turnover since the fourth quarter of 2014. NCB Capital said in a note that although Mobily had returned to profitability, weak sales, high operating expenses and increasing financing costs were concerns. NCB reiterated a "neutral" rating on the stock with a target of SR31.90.
Saudi Telecom Co. shed 0.4 percent to SR60.50 after it missed analysts' forecasts. Net profit for the first quarter dropped 5.2 percent because of rising costs; the firm made a profit of SR2.38 billion compared to analysts' average expectation of SR2.5 billion.
But NCB Capital continues to rate the stock "overweight", citing its defensive nature, strong balance sheet and attractive dividend yield, with a target price of SR75.30.
The Kingdom's largest food company, Savola Group, slumped 5.7 percent to SR39.70 after it reported an 80.3 percent drop in first-quarter net profit, missing analysts' forecasts.
The board approved a cash distribution of SR0.25 per share for the first quarter, lower than SR0.5 in the same period last year, according to Reuters data. The food and agriculture sub-index fell 2.8 percent.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi fell 0.1 percent to 4,596 points as Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank slumped 7.0 percent. It had surged 9.5 percent on Tuesday after Bloomberg reported ADIB planned to open its shares to foreign ownership, but after the market close the bank issued a statement saying it had no such plan.
Other large-cap banks were also sold, with National Bank of Abu Dhabi, which has yet to report earnings, falling 1.1 percent.
Dubai's stock index shed 0.5 percent, weighed down by a 1.8 percent drop in Emirates NBD. On Tuesday Dubai's largest lender said it had laid off around 300 people in recent weeks at two subsidiaries as it seeks to cope with a weaker economy. ENBD reported a first-quarter net profit of 1.81 billion dirhams ($492.8 million), up 8 percent from the same period a year earlier.
Builder Arabtec, the most heavily traded stock, was up 0.6 percent ahead of its shareholder meeting later in the day.
Qatar's index added 0.7 percent. Qatar Islamic International Bank rose 1.6 percent after posting a 5.1 percent rise in first-quarter earnings to SR223.1 million ($60.8 million).
Cairo's main index fell 0.8 percent, following global shares lower as foreign investors sold Egyptian stocks, bourse data showed.
Real estate firm Porto Group plunged 8.3 percent and investment company Qalaa Holdings lost 4.3 percent.
Showing continued concern about Egypt's foreign exchange shortage and the risk of a further devaluation, the Egyptian pound fell sharply on the black market to 11.35 against the US dollar on Wednesday from 11 a day earlier.
Source :Arab News