Qatar, Kuwait stock markets outperform in mixed region

Qatar’s stock market rose on Wednesday as local institutional investors chased shares left behind in the bourse’s latest rally. (REUTERS)
Updated 14 February 2018
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Qatar, Kuwait stock markets outperform in mixed region

DUBAI: Qatar’s stock market rose on Wednesday as local institutional investors chased shares left behind in the bourse’s latest rally, while rises in second-tier speculative stocks boosted Kuwait.
The Qatari index climbed 0.8 percent as real estate firm Ezdan Holding, which had been trading near two-month lows, surged 3.9 percent. Gulf Warehousing added 1.4 percent.
Industries Qatar rose in early trade but closed flat after reporting annual net profit of 3.32 billion riyals ($912 million), up from 2.96 billion riyals in 2016, and lifting its proposed annual cash dividend back to 5 riyals per share from 4 riyals.
Exchange data showed local institutional investors were once again net buyers of Qatari stocks by a considerable margin.
Kuwait’s broad index surged 1.6 percent as speculative stocks such as Real Estate Asset Management Co. , which soared 20 percent, and Human Soft, which added 9.8 percent. The index of 15 blue chips posted a much smaller rise of only 0.3 percent.
Saudi Arabia’s index edged up 0.1 percent as telecommunications firm Mobily plunged 7.1 percent after the company reported its fourth-quarter net loss more than doubled from a year earlier to 181.7 million riyals ($48.45 million) on declining customer numbers. The loss was in line with analysts’ estimates.
In Dubai, the index fell 0.2 percent as GFH Financial slipped 2.2 percent after reporting annual net profit roughly halved and that its board cut the proposed annual cash dividend to 8.7 percent from 10 percent for 2016.
But builder Arabtec added 2.9 percent after swinging to an annual net profit of 123.1 million dirhams ($33.5 million) from a year-earlier loss of 3.41 billion dirhams, roughly in line with analysts’ expectations.
Courier firm Aramex rose 2.3 percent to 4.50 dirhams but came well off the day’s high after failing a test of technical resistance at its January peak of 4.55 dirhams.
It had jumped 7.3 percent on Tuesday after reporting a 25 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit to 165 million dirhams ($45.0 million), beating SICO Bahrain’s estimate of 115 million dirhams.


‘There is no free lunch’, Macron tells tech giant CEOs

Updated 56 min 25 sec ago
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‘There is no free lunch’, Macron tells tech giant CEOs

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron told executives from the world’s biggest technology firms on Wednesday that he wanted innovation to be a driving force for the French economy, but also that they needed to contribute more to society.
The French leader paints himself as a champion of France’s plugged-in youth and wants to transform France into a “startup nation” that draws higher investments into technology and artificial intelligence. He is also spearheading efforts in Europe to have digital companies pay more tax at source.
Macron’s guest-list included Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, IBM’s Virginia Rometty, Intel Corp’s Brian Krzanich, Microsoft Corp’s Satya Nadella and a raft of other big hitters in the corporate world.
“There is no free lunch,” he quipped in English to the executives lined up on the steps of the Elysee Palace for a photo call at a lunch meeting. “So I want from you some commitments.”
As Macron spoke, IBM announced it would hire about 1,400 people in France over the next two years in the fields of blockchain and cloud computing.
Ride-hailing app Uber also said it planned to offer all its European drivers an upgraded version of the health insurance it already provides in France in a drive to attract independent workers and fend off criticism over their treatment.
Macron will hold one-on-one talks with Mark Zuckerberg on tax and data privacy on the sidelines of the Tech For Good summit — a day after the Facebook chief executive faced questions from European Union lawmakers.
Those talks will be frank, an Elysee official said ahead of the meeting. While Macron will be pitching France Inc, he will also push his case for a European Union tax on digital turnover and a tougher fight against both data piracy and fake news.
Zuckerberg on Tuesday sailed through a grilling from EU lawmakers about the social network’s data policies, apologizing to leaders of the European Parliament for a massive data leak but dodging numerous questions.
Macron told the executives that business needed to do more in tackling issues such as inequality and climate change.
“It is not possible just to have free riding on one side, when you make a good business,” the French president said.