Saudi index flat, investors await Q1 results

UAE and Qatar also ended flat as investors awaited first quarter news to move stocks
Saudi index flat, investors await Q1 results
By Reuters
Sun 03 Apr 2011 05:35 PM

Saudi Arabia's index ended flat, ahead of first-quarter earnings, as investors waited for more clarity before building fresh positions.

The benchmark slipped 0.09 percent to close at 6,617 points, halting a three-day rally.

"Once we see quarterly results, the market will take stock of what has happened and take it from there," said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi in Riyadh.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) climbed 0.5 percent and Al-Rajhi Bank slipped 0.7 percent.

Analysts have said a multibillion dollar social spending plan announced by the Saudi king in March will encourage borrowing in the medium-term, as well as investment in the housing market.

"Overall, sentiment in the financial sector was a bit dented by political unrest but after the king's incentive, people are encouraged to spend a bit more," said Youssef Kassantini, a Saudi-based financial analyst.

The Saudi banking index rose 9.6 percent in March.

UAE and Qatar ended flat as investors await first-quarter news to move stocks and are expected to remain steady in coming sessions.

Dubai's index slipped 0.1 percent to end at 1,554 points and Abu Dhabi's index added 0.06 percent to close 2,609 points.

Developer Arabtec, slated to have an annual meeting later on Sunday, was the most traded stock in Dubai's index and gained 1.8 percent. Emaar Properties fell 0.6 percent.

Property stocks lent support to the Abu Dhabi benchmark with Aldar Properties gaining 1.3 percent and Sorouh Real Estate climbing three percent.

"No real news to speak of... no real volumes," said Julian Bruce, EFG-Hermes director of institutional equity sales.

"We're expecting a (boost) from the Saudi rally and everything to be reasonably firm."

The Saudi bourse hit a seven-week high on Saturday.

Qatar's index ended up 0.09 percent to 8,464 points, ending on a six-week high. Qatar National Bank and Qatar Telecom rose 0.4 and 1.7 percent respectively.

"The key thing is the dividend announcements, which are close to the heart of local investors," said Bruce, adding that first-quarter earnings results are somewhat priced in already.

Kuwait's index fell to a 12-day low, as investors booked profits on large cap stocks which rose last Thursday.

The Kuwait benchmark finished down 0.4 percent to 6,271 points.

Three of the top ten stocks fell and three ended flat.

Kuwait Finance House fell 1.9 percent and Gulf Bank shed two percent.

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