National banks deliver to boost Saudi stocks

Saudi Arabia’s index gained 1.2 percent. (Reuters)
Updated 07 February 2019
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National banks deliver to boost Saudi stocks

  • National Commercial Bank added 3.9 percent, while Al Rajhi Bank was up 1.4 percent after the Capital Market Authority approved an increase in capital
  • Saudi Arabia’s impending entry into emerging market indexes should mean a $15 billion inflow of passive benchmark-linked funds

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s index gained 1.2 percent with National Commercial Bank adding 3.9 percent. Ratings agency Moody’s said the bank’s brand and diversified assets make it resilient to slower economic growth in Saudi Arabia.
Al Rajhi Bank was up 1.4 percent after the Capital Market Authority approved an increase in capital. The bank, which is currently capitalized at SR16.25 billion ($4.3 billion), proposed increasing its capital to up to SR25 billion.
Saudi Arabia’s impending entry into emerging market indexes should mean a $15 billion inflow of “passive” benchmark-linked funds, which will attract billions more of active funds, regardless of low oil prices or geopolitical tensions.
Saudi’s Almarai climbed 1.7 percent after the firm said it would acquire Premier Foods for an enterprise value of SR108 million.
In Dubai, the index added 0.5 percent with Emirates NBD, its largest bank, gaining 2.1 percent. The company called a shareholders’ meeting on Feb. 20 to discuss the issue of non-convertible securities.
Commercial Bank of Dubai rose 0.8 percent after its board proposed a full-year cash dividend of 20.7 percent of its share capital. The Abu Dhabi index rose 0.2 percent, with Emirates Telecommunications gaining 0.6 percent. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank increased 1.6 percent to its highest since April 2016, its third straight session of gains. The lender has gained since reporting a 23 percent increase in its fourth-quarter net profit.
Qatar’s index edged down 0.1 percent, with Commercial Bank declining 0.8 percent despite reporting a higher full-year net profit and proposing a cash dividend of 1.5 riyal per share for the same period.
Egypt’s blue-chip share index rose sharply on Tuesday boosted by major lender Commercial International Bank after its strong fourth-quarter earnings, while banks also lifted Saudi Arabia’s stock market.
Egypt’s index gained for a ninth straight session, climbing 2.6 percent with 27 of its 30 stocks rising.
The country’s biggest lender Commercial International Bank jumped 3.9 percent after it reported fourth-quarter net profit after interest of 2.56 billion Egyptian pounds ($146 million) compared to 1.87 billion pounds a year ago. Global Telecom Holding climbed 3.3 percent to its highest since July after major shareholder Veon said that it offered to buy out the firm.


Turkey set to begin oil and gas drilling off Cyprus

Updated 21 February 2019
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Turkey set to begin oil and gas drilling off Cyprus

  • “In the coming days we will start drilling with two ships around Cyprus,” Turkish foreign minister said
  • Turkey and the Cypriot government have overlapping claims of jurisdiction in the eastern Mediterranean

ISTANBUL: Turkey will begin drilling for oil and gas near Cyprus in coming days, state-owned news agency Anadolu reported Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu saying on Thursday, a move that could stoke tensions with neighboring Cyprus and Greece.
Turkey and the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government have overlapping claims of jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas research in the eastern Mediterranean, a region thought to be rich in natural gas.
“In the coming days we will start drilling with two ships around Cyprus,” Cavusoglu was quoted as saying in a speech to a business conference in western Turkey’s Aydin province.
“Let those who come to the region from far away, and their companies, see that nothing can be done in that region without us. Nothing at all can be done in the Mediterranean without Turkey, we will not allow that,” Cavusoglu said.
Turkey launched its first drillship “Fatih” in October to drill off the coast of Turkey’s southern Antalya province. It said a second ship that it purchased would operate in the Black Sea, but was diverted to the Cyprus area.
Breakaway north Cyprus, which is supported by Turkey, says any offshore wealth also belongs to them, as partners in the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960.
The island was divided in 1974 after a Turkish invasion triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. Countless peacemaking endeavours have failed, and offshore wealth has increasingly complicated peace negotiations, with Greek Cypriots saying the matter is not up for discussion.