Top bank boosts Egypt, Gulf falls in thin trade

The Egyptian index rose 1.3 percent as Commercial International Bank gained 1.9 percent. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 02 January 2019
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Top bank boosts Egypt, Gulf falls in thin trade

  • The Egyptian index rose 1.3 percent as Commercial International Bank gained 1.9 percent

Egypt’s blue-chip stock index rose sharply on Wednesday, boosted by its biggest bank, while all major Gulf markets were weak, with some investors away on year-end holidays.

The Egyptian index rose 1.3 percent as Commercial International Bank gained 1.9 percent.

Real estate firm Talaat Mostafa rose 3.2 percent after saying its sales last year reached 21.3 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.2 billion), up from 13.1 billion pounds a year earlier.

Orascom Development climbed 4.4 percent. It has been strong since announcing at the end of last week that it had sold some hotels, which would help reduce its debt.

In Dubai — which fell 25 percent in 2018, the world’s worst-performing major stock market in local currency terms — the index was down 0.4 percent. Courier firm Aramex dropped 4.4 percent in its biggest one-day loss since December 2017.

Dubai’s largest listed developer, Emaar Properties , shed 1.2 percent. The Saudi Arabian index edged down 0.1 percent with Samba Financial slipping 0.8 percent and Saudi International Petrochemical Co. (Sipchem) dropping 2.7 percent.

Qatar’s index — one of the world’s best performing markets last year with a 21 percent gain — dropped 0.2 percent with Industries Qatar falling 1.6 percent and Qatar National Bank slipping 1.1 percent. However, Mesaieed Petrochemical jumped by its 10 percent daily limit. It said major shareholder Qatar Petroleum had finished distributing a tranche of free incentive shares to investors, which may improve liquidity in the stock.

Real estate firm United Development Co. gained 1.7 percent after saying it had sold its stake in Seef Ltd. to Qatar Petroleum for 214.4 million riyals ($59 million).

SAUDI The index edged down ARABIA 0.1 pct to 7,791 points DUBAI The index lost 0.4 pct to 2,521 points QATAR The index fell 0.2 pct to 10,280 points ABU DHABI The index fell 1 pct to 4,867 points EGYPT The index rose 1.3 pct to 13,204 points KUWAIT The index was up 0.7 pct at 5,305 points OMAN The index fell 0.7 pct to 4,302 points BAHRAIN The index dropped 0.6 pct to 1,329 points (Editing by Andrew Torchia and Susan Fenton)


Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

Updated 23 March 2019
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Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

  • Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China
  • Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets

BEIJING: Apple chief executive Tim Cook nudged China on Saturday to open up and said the future would depend on global collaboration, as the United States and China remained locked in a bitter trade dispute.
“We encourage China to continue to open up, we see that as essential, not only for China to reach its full potential, but for the global economy to thrive,” Cook said at a China Development Forum in Beijing.
Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets, some analysts worry that its reform project has slowed or even stalled under President Xi Jinping, who has sought greater control over the economy and a bigger role for state-owned firms at the expense of the private sector.
Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China because of a contracting smartphone market, increasing pressure from Chinese rivals, and slowing upgrade cycles. The company reported a revenue drop of 26 percent in the greater China region during the quarter ending in December.
Before those results came out, in a January letter to investors, Cook blamed the company’s poor China performance on trade tension between the United States and China, suggesting that pressure on the economy was hurting sales in China.