MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi earnings, oil boost Gulf, Egypt breaks chart barrier – Reuters

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* Saudi’s SABIC surges after profit drops less than expected

* Builder Khodari, Mouwasat Medical also beat estimates

* Dubai’s Emaar up on chairman’s positive comments

* Dubai Parks falls on rights issue plan

* Egypt’s index rises above October peak

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, April 19 Gulf stock markets rose on
Tuesday as several Saudi companies beat first-quarter earnings
estimates and oil prices held up better than feared after the
failure of Sunday’s Doha meeting to agree on an output freeze.

The Saudi stock index climbed 1.7 percent as Saudi
Basic Industries, the biggest petrochemical producer,
gained 2.3 percent.

SABIC reported a 13.2 percent drop in net profit to 3.41
billion riyals ($909.4 million) after analysts had on average
forecast 2.84 billion riyals.

In addition, its acting chief executive told Reuters SABIC
was seeking acquisitions to strengthen its fertiliser business
and could announce purchases in the chemicals and polymers
sectors by the end of the third quarter, while it might sell
some Asian or U.S. assets.

The Saudi construction sector has also been hit hard by low
oil prices, but major builder Khodari rose 1.6
percent. Its profit plunged 70.6 percent to 4.11 million riyals
but beat the estimate of EFG Hermes, which had forecast a loss
of 6.25 million riyals.

Mouwasat Medical Services jumped 6.7 percent after
posting a 27.2 percent rise in profit to 71.1 million riyals,
beating an average forecast of 60.7 million riyals.

Jarir Marketing Co rose 1.8 percent even though it
said it was cutting its first-quarter cash dividend to 1.75
riyals per share from 2.25 riyals.

Dubai’s index added 1.1 percent, helped by a 1.4
percent rise in Emaar Properties after chairman
Mohammed Alabbar told reporters that its performance in the
first quarter looked good because of better-than-expected sales
and cost-cutting. The company has not yet announced
first-quarter earnings.

But Dubai Parks and Resorts fell 0.7 percent to
1.38 dirhams after announcing details of a 1.68 billion dirham
($457.4 million) rights issue to finance the development of its
Six Flags-branded theme park. The company will issue shares at
1.0 dirham each.

Abu Dhabi rose 1.0 percent. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
soared 9.5 percent in unusually heavy trade after
Bloomberg reported it planned to open its shares to 25 percent
foreign ownership. After the close, the bank said it had no
plans for such a change.

Qatar rose 0.6 percent as Widam Food jumped
its 10 percent daily limit after reporting a 77 percent leap in
first-quarter net profit.

In Egypt, the index surged 2.6 percent to 7,864
points in active trade, breaking above technical resistance on
the October peak of 7,716 points. Exchange data showed foreign
investors were again net buyers.

Juhayna Food Industries gained 2.4 percent,
continuing to rise after it reported on Sunday a first-quarter
net profit of 80.4 million Egyptian pounds ($9.05 million)
versus 65.2 million pounds in the same period last year.



* The index surged 1.7 percent to 6,532 points.


* The index jumped 2.6 percent to 7,864 points.


* The index rose 1.1 percent to 3,563 points.


* The index gained 1.0 percent to 4,602 points.


* The index rose 0.6 percent to 10,297 points.


* The index climbed 0.7 percent to 5,328 points.


* The index added 0.9 percent to 5,709 points.


* The index edged up 0.03 percent to 1,127 points.

(Editing by Tom Heneghan)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi earnings, oil boost Gulf, Egypt breaks chart barrier – Reuters}