Dubai's stock market rises by 1.1% while Saudi bourse slips as oil price falls from 2015 highs
Gulf stock markets were mixed on Sunday as weaker oil offset the positive news of a truce agreed in Yemen, but bourses in the United Arab Emirates attracted investors who placed bets ahead of the last wave of first-quarter earnings reports.
Early in the day, Yemen's Houthi rebels and the group's army allies said they had accepted Saudi Arabia's proposal for a five-day truce to begin on Tuesday, which could bolster Gulf investors' hopes that a military intervention by Saudi-led ground forces will be avoided.
However, Brent crude oil posted its first weekly loss in a month on Friday as the market fretted again about global oversupply; Brent, which hit a 2015 high just below $70 per barrel last week, closed at $65.39 on Friday.
The main Saudi stock index slipped 0.1 percent as petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries, whose profits are sensitive to oil prices, fell 1.7 percent and other stocks in the sector were also weak.
But property developer Jabal Omar edged up 0.2 percent after posting a third profitable quarter in a row after years of losses. Real estate firms Emaar Economic City and Dar Al Arkan rose 4.0 and 1.1 percent respectively.
Dubai's index, which has little exposure to the energy and petrochemical sectors compared with other regional markets, rose 1.1 percent as most stocks made gains.
District cooling firm Tabreed surged 9.3 percent; the stock had soared its daily 15 percent limit on Thursday after announcing plans to buy back some of its convertible bonds.
Low-cost carrier Air Arabia and builder Arabtec rose 1.3 and 3.8 percent. Arabtec is expected to publish its first-quarter earnings this week and Air Arabia posted them after the market closed. However, the firm, which made 78.1 million dirhams ($21.3 million) in the quarter, missed the estimates of analysts surveyed by Reuters, who had on average expected 95.0 million dirhams.
Abu Dhabi developer Aldar Properties, which is also due to announce earnings this week, jumped 3.0 percent and was one of the main supports for that emirate's index.
Aldar also said on Sunday it had secured commitments for almost 500 million dirhams in land plots at its new Nareel Island project.
Egypt's market edged down 0.6 percent as most stocks declined. Telecom Egypt, which according to some analysts risks being excluded from MSCI's emerging markets index this week, was the biggest loser, dropping 3.7 percent.
But Commercial International Bank, the country's biggest listed lender, edged up 0.2 percent ahead of its first-quarter results, which are expected on Wednesday.
"We expect the company to report net income of 982 million (Egyptian) pounds for the first quarter, a 22 percent increase year-on-year and 4.7 percent decrease quarter-on-quarter, with year-on-year growth driven by top-line growth and relatively lower operating costs," Harshjit Oza, banking analyst at Cairo-based Naeem brokerage, said in a note on Sunday.