MIDEAST STOCKS-Bourses most exposed to foreign funds lag as global mood cautious – Reuters

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* Egypt’s blue chip index is worst performer

* Dubai’s Shuaa Capital flat despite strong Q2 results

* Foreign funds net sellers in Qatar

* Saudi German Hospital slumps on Q2 earnings miss

* Insurance stocks outperform

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Stock markets in the Middle East that are most exposed to foreign funds were the chief losers on Sunday, taking their cue from international bourses, where the mood was soured last week by growing tensions between the United States and North Korea.

The worst performer in the region was Egypt’s blue-chip index, which dropped 1.4 percent as all but two of the 30 most valuable shares declined. The broader EGX100 fell 0.7 percent.

Shares often traded by foreign funds were particularly weak, with Investment firm EFG Hermes dropping 5.8 percent and Commercial International Bank shedding 1.4 percent.

Dubai’s index fell 0.9 percent in very thin trade, its largest single-day decline since June 21, as a little under three-quarters of listed shares fell. Emaar Properties , which is expected to report quarterly earnings in the coming days, fell 1.4 percent.

Shuaa Capital closed flat after rising as much as 4.8 percent earlier in the day after reporting a second-quarter net profit of 12.1 million dirhams ($3.3 million) compared with a loss of 50.8 million dirhams a year ago.

Abu Dhabi’s index lost 1.1 percent as four of the top five most valuable companies fell; Aldar Properties declined 2.1 percent.

In Qatar, the index fell 0.4 percent as 30 shares declined and only six rose. Foreign funds were net sellers, bourse data showed.

Saudi Arabia’s index edged down 0.2 percent as Middle East Healthcare, operator of Saudi German Hospital, slumped its 10 percent daily limit to 69.0 riyals after reporting disappointing quarterly results.

In the three months to June 30, the company made a net profit of 57.1 million riyals ($15.2 million), down 22.9 percent from last year and significantly below the 85.9 million riyals estimated by NCB Capital.

Nevertheless, NCB Capital maintained an “overweight” rating on the stock with a price target of 95.3 riyals. “Expansion plan and attractive valuation are the stock’s key positives … However, high account receivables are a key concern,” it said.

The Saudi insurance sector, often traded by local, short-term speculative traders, contained some of the top performers, with Amana Insurance jumping nearly 10 percent.

Highlights

Saudi Arabia

* The index edged down 0.2 percent to 7,148 points.

Dubai

* The index dropped 0.9 percent to 3,614 points.

Abu Dhabi

* The index lost 1.1 percent to 4,501 points.

Qatar

* The index declined 0.4 percent to 9,205 points.

Egypt

* The index fell 1.4 percent to 13,280 points.

Kuwait

* The index edged up 0.02 percent to 6,846 points.

Bahrain

* The index decreased 0.1 percent to 1,323 points.

Oman

* The index fell 0.4 percent 4,970 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia and Alison Williams)