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Mideast markets may pull back on global weakness

Markets in the UAE and Egypt reopened early after the holidays and rose on the back of strong second-quarter earnings

Published: Updated:

Middle East stock markets may pull back on Sunday, responding to a weak global environment, as most bourses resume trading after long Eid holidays.

Markets in the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which reopened early after the holidays, rose on Thursday on the back of strong second-quarter earnings at banks and expectations for similar performances by real estate developers.

Since then, however, the global equity market mood has worsened; world markets dropped for a fourth day on Friday, dragged down by Argentina’s debt crisis, confusion over U.S. monetary policy and geopolitical tensions.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.42 percent on Friday after sliding about 2 percent on Thursday, despite positive economic data showing solid improvement in U.S. labor markets.

This may cause investors in the Gulf to become more cautious and temporarily at least end the Saudi Arabian market’s
surge on the back of news that it will open to direct foreign investment early next year.

Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi’s largest real estate developer, reported a 168 percent year-on-year jump in its second-quarter net profit on Sunday morning, after excluding one-time merger gains in the corresponding period last year. That was in line with analysts’ estimates.

Dubai property giant Emaar is expected to announce second-quarter earnings as soon as on Sunday; some investors have been positioning for a positive surprise, and the market could be disappointed if this does not materialize.

Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates fell in early trade on Sunday in response to global cues, after U.S. markets dropped at the end of last week on Argentina’s debt crisis, confusion over U.S. monetary policy and geopolitical tensions.

The main Abu Dhabi index was down 0.6 percent after an hour of trade. Aldar Properties, the most heavily traded stock, sank 2.7 percent after it reported a 168 percent year-on-year jump in its second-quarter net profit, excluding one-time merger gains in the corresponding period last year. That was in line with analysts’ estimates.

Dubai’s index fell 0.4 percent with real estate developers generally weak; Emaar Properties, which is expected to announced its second-quarter earnings as soon as on Sunday, dropped 0.5 percent.

However, construction firm Arabtec, the most heavily traded Dubai stock, rose 1.4 percent.

Qatar’s stock index climbed 0.4 percent as the market reopened after long Eid holidays. It was supported by Barwa Real Estate, which rebounded 1.6 percent; it had plunged in the two previous days after reporting a second-quarter loss.

However, Mesaieed Petrochemical edged down 1.1 percent after reporting a first-half net profit of 899 million riyals ($247 million), while Salam International Investment fell 1.4 percent after saying interim earnings per share roughly tripled.