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Saudi Arabian stocks lower as weak banks outweigh rising petrochems

Saudi Arabian shares fell on Sunday as weakness in banks more than offset a rise in petrochemicals after Brent crude oil rebounded. (REUTERS)
DUBAI: Saudi Arabian shares fell on Sunday as weakness in banks more than offset a rise in petrochemicals after Brent crude oil rebounded to around $67 a barrel at the end of last week.
The Saudi stock index fell 0.4 percent. Ten of 14 petchems climbed, with the biggest, Saudi Basic Industries , adding 0.6 percent.
Saudi Kayan Petrochemical gained 0.3 percent after swinging to a fourth-quarter loss of 220 million riyals ($58.7 million) due to scheduled maintenance at its plants. The loss was larger than 90 million riyals forecast by SICO Bahrain but much smaller than 417 million riyals predicted by NCB Capital.
Nine of 12 banks fell. Reuters reported on Thursday about rising Islamic tax liabilities at Saudi banks. In the last couple of weeks, several major banks have disclosed that the government is seeking additional zakat — or alms-giving — payments from them for years going back as far as 2002.
In some cases, the demands exceed half of a bank’s annual net profit, and analysts expect more banks to disclose additional zakat demands in coming weeks.
Abdulmohsen Al Hokair Group for Tourism and Development sank 6.1 percent after reporting annual net profit fell to 8.7 million riyals from 126.3‍ million riyals. The figures implied a 23.1 million riyal loss in the fourth quarter.
Dubai’s index added 0.6 percent as Dubai Islamic Bank rose 1.2 percent after saying its planned issue of up to 1.65 billion new shares would be offered at a discount of 45 percent to the market price.
DP World edged down 0.2 percent after saying on Thursday it would take legal action after Djibouti ended a contract with the company to run its Doraleh Container Terminal, a move which DP World called an illegal seizure.
The company said terminating the contract would have no material financial impact on it. The terminal has annual capacity of 1.25 million twenty-foot equivalent units, compared to 70.1 million TEU handled across DP World’s global portfolio of container terminals in 2017. ‍​
In Manama, Bahrain Telecommunications Co. jumped 4.9 percent to 0.216 dinar, rising above technical resistance on its February peak.
The company reported a 21.7 million dinar ($57.6 million) loss during the fourth quarter, compared to a net profit of 5.2 million dinars a year ago, because of impairment losses related to its investments in Yemen and Jordan.
But executives predicted profit of 40 to 45 million dinars in 2018 and said they were on the lookout for acquisition opportunities in the telecommunications and digital spaces.
Egypt’s index climbed 1.0 percent as Qalaa Holdings surged 3.6 percent after saying its unit Egyptian Refining Co. had obtained about $500 million of additional financing for a refinery project.

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