Qatar sinks to 19-month low, SABB surges in Saudi

Screens displaying stock information are seen at Qatar Stock Exchange in Doha on June 5, 2017. Qatar’s stock market sank to a 19-month low on Monday while other regional bourses were mixed in mostly quiet trade. (REUTERS file photo)
Updated 11 September 2017
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Qatar sinks to 19-month low, SABB surges in Saudi

DUBAI: Qatar’s stock market sank to a 19-month low on Monday while other regional bourses were mixed in mostly quiet trade, although Saudi British Bank surged in Riyadh.
The Qatari stock index dropped 1.6 percent to 8,532 points, its lowest finish since January 2016, in a broad sell-off that saw declining stocks outnumber gainers by 27 to nine.
Qatar National Bank, the biggest lender, slid 2.0 percent and Qatar Gas Transport dropped 4.4 percent.
The market has been depressed by the diplomatic dispute between Qatar and its neighbors that erupted in early June, and after a phone call between leaders of Qatar and Saudi Arabia on Saturday, Riyadh accused Doha of “distorting facts” and suspended any further dialogue.
This suggested a resolution of the dispute might remain distant. Although wealthy Qatar is believed to have the financial resources to cope with its isolation, banks face higher funding costs as other Gulf states withdraw deposits.
The withdrawals have been pushing down the Qatari central bank’s foreign reserves, which shrank $10.4 billion in June to $24.4 billion. The central bank usually releases each month’s reserves data late in the following month but has not yet published July data; it has not given a reason for the delay.
In Saudi Arabia, the index gained 0.5 percent in rising trading volume as Nama Chemicals, which had surged 9.5 percent in unusually heavy trade on Sunday, added a further 2.1 percent to 21.90 riyals, though it pulled back from near technical resistance at its May peak of 23.22 riyals.
Saudi British Bank climbed 2.6 percent to 28.15 riyals after Morgan Stanley raised the stock to “overweight” from “equal-weight” and lifted its target price to 32.50 riyals from 31 riyals.
The Dubai index edged up 0.2 percent. Union Properties, the most heavily traded stock, added 0.9 percent and Deyaar gained 0.8 percent.
Direct sales of United Arab Emirates properties are being allowed at this year’s annual Cityscape exhibition in Dubai for the first time in a decade. Deyaar said in a stock exchange statement on Monday that it was launching a new 1 billion dirham ($272 million) residential and hotel project at Cityscape.
In Abu Dhabi, the index slipped 0.2 percent but Abu Dhabi National Insurance Co. (ADNIC) climbed 4.1 percent in thin trade. On Sunday, Reuters quoted sources as saying Abu Dhabi Investment Council was weighing a sale of its nearly 24 percent stake in ADNIC, with Allianz among groups showing initial interest in buying it.
In Egypt, the index climbed 0.6 percent in active trade after news that annual urban consumer price inflation dipped to 31.9 percent year-on-year in August from 33.0 percent in July. If inflation continues to drop, it could permit the central bank to ease policy late this year.


Intel CEO resigns after probe of relationship with employee

Krzanich led Intel as rival chipmakers ate away at its dominance in the technology over several decades and he also presided over a series of high-level executive departures. (AP)
Updated 22 June 2018
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Intel CEO resigns after probe of relationship with employee

  • Corporations are under increasing pressure to “walk the walk” on executive behavior with the rise of the #MeToo movement
  • The board named Chief Financial Officer Robert Swan as interim CEO

Intel Corp. Chief Executive Brian Krzanich resigned on Thursday after an investigation found he had a consensual relationship with an employee in breach of company policy.
The head of the largest US chipmaker is the latest in a line of men in business and politics to lose their jobs or resign over relationships viewed as inappropriate, a phenomenon highlighted by the #MeToo social media movement.
Krzanich led Intel as rival chipmakers ate away at its dominance in the technology over several decades and he also presided over a series of high-level executive departures.
The change in leadership comes as Intel expands beyond personal computers and servers into areas such as artificial intelligence and self-driving cars, where smaller competitors including Nvidia Corp. are strong. Qualcomm Inc. leads in the mobile chip market.
The board named Chief Financial Officer Robert Swan as interim CEO and said it has begun a search for a permanent CEO, including internal and external candidates.
“An ongoing investigation by internal and external counsel has confirmed a violation of Intel’s non-fraternization policy, which applies to all managers,” Intel said in a statement, declining to give any further information about the probe. Its shares fell 2.4 percent.
The company’s board was informed a week ago that Krzanich had a mutual relationship with an employee in his chain of command in the past, according to a source familiar with the matter who asked not to be named. The relationship began before Krzanich became CEO in 2013 and ended several years ago, the person said.

‘BK’ out
Krzanich, who did not have an employment contract, is entitled to a $38 million “walk-away” payment in the event of a voluntary termination, according to Intel’s regulatory filings.
Of that, $31 million is in the form of accelerated stock awards and $4.1 million in the form of deferred compensation, based on Intel’s share price on Dec. 29.
An Intel spokesman declined to say whether the walk-away payment applied to Krzanich’s resignation, but said the investigation into Krzanich’s conduct continued and that the board reserved the right to take further action.
Corporations are under increasing pressure to “walk the walk” on executive behavior with the rise of the #MeToo movement, said Ivan Feinseth, chief investment officer at Tigress Financial Partners.
In the last few months Martin Sorrell, founder of advertising giant WPP Plc, and casino mogul Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts Ltd. resigned after accusations of impropriety. Wynn has denied the accusations and Sorrell has denied any wrongdoing.
Krzanich, 58, an engineer and Intel veteran known at the company as “BK,” was appointed CEO in May 2013. Intel shares more than doubled during his tenure as the company expanded into new markets.
He was recently credited with containing the fallout from the discovery of security flaws in the company’s chips that could allow hackers to steal data from computers, although his sale of much of his Intel stock before the flaws were disclosed to investors attracted some criticism.

Time for an outsider?
His temporary replacement, Robert Swan, has been Intel’s CFO since October 2016 and previously spent nine years as CFO of eBay Inc. Given his short tenure and lack of experience in manufacturing, he is not likely to be named permanent CEO, Cowen analyst Matthew Ramsay said.
While Intel dominates in processors for servers and data centers, global competitors are catching up with its manufacturing technology, said Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon.
“BK will go down in history as the CEO that let Intel’s process leadership advantage slip away,” he said, adding that a change at the top could bring in fresh ideas.
Kevin Cassidy, an analyst at Stifel, said that Intel would take the change in stride.
“Although we respect Krzanich’s efforts in redirecting Intel’s strategy from a computer-centric to a data-centric company, we view Intel as a process-driven company with a deep bench of CEO candidates that can continue to drive the corporate strategy,” he said.
In its 50-year history, Intel has never appointed a permanent CEO who did not come up through the company’s ranks.
But those ranks are thinner than they used to be, with prominent Intel executives such as former CFO and manufacturing chief Stacy Smith, former president Renee James, ex-architecture chief Dadi Perlmutter and Dianne Bryant, who headed the data center group, leaving in recent years.
Instead, Krzanich’s replacement could end up being one of the outsiders he brought into the company’s executive ranks, a sort of “insider outsider” such as Murthy Renduchintala, Intel’s chief engineering officer who joined Intel in 2015 after helping lead Qualcomm’s chip business.
“They’ve got some very good people they’ve brought in,” said Dan Hutcheson, CEO of VLSI Research Inc, who “know the company, know the new direction. It’s not a turnaround story.”
UBS analyst Tim Arcuri wrote to clients that “the door is open to hire from the outside.”
Intel on Thursday raised its second-quarter revenue and profit forecast, saying it expects quarterly revenue of about $16.9 billion and adjusted profit of about 99 cents per share, up from a previous forecast of $16.3 billion in revenue and adjusted earnings per share of 85 cents.
Analysts on average were expecting revenue of $16.29 billion and adjusted profit of 85 cents per share.
“There are no new payments as part of his departure,” a source familiar with the company told Reuters.