Saudi falls on Almarai; Air Arabia at record low

April 7, 2011 - 0:0

The Saudi bourse fell for a third day Tuesday, with the first of the earnings results disappointing investors, and Air Arabia dropped to an all-time low in Dubai on a dividend price adjustment. Almarai Co, the Persian Gulf's biggest dairy firm by market value, shed 1.1 percent after it posted a first-quarter net profit gain of just 0.5 percent. ""Almarai's numbers disappointed due to pressures from rising raw material prices,"" said Amro Halwani, a senior trader at Shuaa Capital in Riyadh.

Saudi Electricity fell 5.3 percent after it went ex-dividend. ""Investors are far more selective than they have been in recent weeks resulting in mixed performance within sectors with no major trend to talk of,"" said Halwani. The Saudi benchmark slipped 0.9 percent. UAE markets edged lower as trading was range-bound and Air Arabia lost 1.5 percent to 0.74 dirham, its lowest close ever.
Analysts said the fall was insignificant, but first-quarter earnings for the airline will be hit by fuel cost pressures. ""Market has been trading in a range, after a strong performance in mid-February,"" said Marwan Shurrab, vice-president at Gulfmena Alternative Investments. ""We are waiting for a catalyst to move to a higher close above these levels - which in our view will be Q1 results.
Dubai's benchmark fell 0.7 percent and Abu Dhabi's index slipped 0.4 percent, a new three-week low. Heavyweight Etisalat weighed for a second day, falling 0.5 percent. First Gulf Bank lost 1.8 percent, also extending Monday's losses. Egypt's benchmark index extended losses, weighed by a deteriorating economic outlook and widening budget deficit.
The country's finance minister said on Monday he expected budget deficit to rise to 9.5 percent of gross domestic project in the financial year that begins next July. Egypt's economic and security concerns are seen contained and not expected to affect Persian Gulf Arab markets.
We are in a position where pressure from geo-political issues has been priced in,"" said Mohammed Yasin, UAE-based CAPM Investment's chief investment officer. Egypt's main benchmark fell 0.4 percent, after Monday's 1.2 percent drop as violence at a soccer match sparked investors fears over broader security.""I don't see people looking now at any of those things... as long as it continues in the same rhythm,"" Yasin added.
Qatar's index rose 0.4 percent to a six-week high, with Qatar Telecomadding 3.1 percent as investors bought into the stock's long-term valuation. ""People are becoming slightly more bullish on Qatar,"" said Robert Pramberger, acting head of asset management at The First Investor. ""Within GCC, it's one of the overweight markets, where people would invest a large proportion of money.
Oman's index edged higher for a third day, up 0.3 percent, as Galfar Engineering which gained 4 percent after a tender board classification for local contractors that may lead to a beneficial price escalation clause, analysts said. Kuwait's index ended almost flat to a week-high, supported by telecom operator Zain which gained 1.5 percent. -Reuters (