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Tadawul down: Gulf stocks fall.

DUBAI: Most Gulf stock markets fell on Thursday amid soft oil prices and mixed corporate earnings, while Egypt was hit once again by concern about instability in the country's currency. Dubai's index edged down 0.1 percent. Dubai Parks & Resorts surged 3.8 percent but real estate stocks were weak, with Deyaar Development dropping 1.1 percent after reporting a 17.8 percent fall in second-quarter net profit. Blue chip Emaar Properties, which had been rallying strongly for the past two weeks, lost steam. It edged down 0.3 percent to 7.00 dirhams, failing to break major technical resistance on its October 2015 peak of 7.01 dirhams. A few small speculative stocks rose sharply including Al-Salam Group Holding, which gained 10.6 percent. In Kuwait, where its shares surged 5.8 percent, the company issued a statement saying it knew of no material reason for the unusual trade in its shares. Saudi Arabia's Tadawul All-Share Index fell 0.5 percent to 6,601 points as Yamama Cement tumbled 5.2 percent after reporting a 14 percent year-on-year drop in second-quarter profit to SR150.5 million ($40.1 million), and slashing its second-quarter dividend to SR0.25 per share from SR0.75. Petrochemical shares were strong, however. Yanbu National Petrochemical Co. (Yansab) rose 2.8 percent in its heaviest trade since January after its second-quarter net profit trebled to SR689.3 million ($183.8 million) because of higher production and sales - analysts had on average forecast SR446.2 million. Petrochemical heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries gained 0.6 percent. Abu Dhabi's index fell 0.5 percent to 4,590 points, dragged down by profit-taking in merger candidates First Gulf Bank, down 1.2 percent, and National Bank of Abu Dhabi, off 2.0 percent. Qatar also dropped 0.5 percent because of widespread selling in banks. Commercial Bank of Qatar, which slumped 6.6 percent on Wednesday after it missed second-quarter earnings forecasts by a large margin, fell a further 2.0 percent. The Egyptian index sank 0.9 percent as the gap between Egypt's official and unofficial US dollar rates hit its widest ever because of speculation that the country's endemic foreign exchange shortage could force another devaluation. Traders told Reuters they sold dollars at record highs between 11.85 and 12.05 pounds, more than 35 percent above the central bank's official rate of 8.78. An initial devaluation in March prompted a strong rally in the stock market because of hopes it would encourage capital inflows, but this did not happen, and investors are now worried about the risk of a disorderly depreciation accompanied by punishing interest rate hikes. The central bank governor said after the close on Wednesday that the time was not right to float the Egyptian pound but he left the door open to a possible devaluation.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Jul 22, 2016
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