Saudi far outperforms Gulf, rate hopes boost Egypt

Saudi traders look at monitors showing the movement of the stock market at a bank in the Saudi capital Riyadh. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 15 February 2018
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Saudi far outperforms Gulf, rate hopes boost Egypt

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s stock market rose on Thursday, encouraged by strong global bourses and a slight rebound in oil prices, while hopes for an interest rate cut boosted Egypt. But much of the Gulf was sluggish because of mediocre corporate earnings.
The Saudi index gained 1.2 percent in a broad rally; gainers outnumbered losers by 140 to 39. Al Rajhi Bank added 2.9 percent in its second heaviest trading volume this year.
Saudi Investment Bank rose 2.9 percent after saying it would pay an annual dividend of 0.6 riyal per share, up from 0.5 riyal for 2016.
But telecommunications firm Mobily, which had plunged 7.1 percent on Wednesday after reporting its fourth-quarter net loss more than doubled, dropped a further 2.3 percent.
In Dubai, the index edged down 0.2 percent as DAMAC Properties, which on Wednesday revealed a 47 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit, lost 1.2 percent.
The biggest real estate firm, Emaar Properties, slipped 0.3 percent after it reported a 16 percent fall in fourth-quarter net profit to 1.36 billion dirhams ($370.3 million), below SICO Bahrain’s forecast of 1.61 billion dirhams.
Union Properties edged down 0.1 percent after reporting an annual loss of 2.38 billion dirhams ($649 million) against a year-ago profit of 211.4 ‍​million dirhams; the figures implied a fourth-quarter loss of roughly 90 million dirhams.
In Abu Dhabi, the index slipped 0.3 percent as telecommunications firm Etisalat fell 0.6 percent. It posted a 12 percent fall in quarterly profit to 1.97 billion dirhams, while SICO Bahrain had forecast 2.21 billion dirhams.
Aldar Properties dropped 3.1 percent after reporting a 28 percent decline in full-year profit attributable to owners, partly because of a one-time charge of 495 million dirhams. The company raised its annual dividend to 12 fils per share from 11 fils in 2016.
Qatar’s index fell 0.4 percent as Mesaieed Petrochemical lost 1.4 percent, despite reporting a slight rise in annual profit and a hike in its dividend to 0.7 riyal per share from 0.6 riyal.
In Egypt, the index rose 1.1 percent as real estate developer SODIC surged 7.0 percent. Economists predicted the central bank would start a gradual easing of moentary policy at its meeting after the close on Thursday, thanks to falling inflation rates.


US trade negotiators to visit China for fresh round of talks

Updated 21 March 2019
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US trade negotiators to visit China for fresh round of talks

  • Washington and Beijing are battling over the final shape of a trade deal
  • American officials are demanding profound changes to Chinese industrial policy

BEIJING: US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will visit China on March 28-29 for a fresh round of talks aimed at resolving the bruising trade war, the Chinese commerce ministry said Thursday.
After their visit, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will head to the United States in April to continue the negotiations, ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a press briefing.
Washington and Beijing are battling over the final shape of a trade deal, with American officials demanding profound changes to Chinese industrial policy.
President Donald Trump warned Wednesday that US tariffs on Chinese imports could remain in place for a “substantial period,” dampening hopes that an agreement would see them lifted soon.
Over the last eight months, the United States and China have slapped tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way goods trade, weighing on the manufacturing sectors in both countries.
On Friday, China’s rubber-stamp parliament approved a foreign investment law to strengthen protections for intellectual property — a central US grievance — but critics said the bill was rammed through without sufficient time for input from businesses.