Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom soars on Alwaleed release, earnings hit SABIC

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. (AFP)
Updated 28 January 2018

Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom soars on Alwaleed release, earnings hit SABIC

DUBAI: Shares in Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding soared in early trade on Sunday after owner Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was released from detention, but top petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries fell on weak fourth-quarter earnings.
The Saudi stock index was flat after an hour but rising stocks outnumbered losers in a ratio of about two to one.
The release of Prince Alwaleed and at least several other senior Saudi businessmen at the weekend, after they were detained for over two months in a corruption probe, was seen as positive for their companies — and also for the market as a whole, by suggesting the probe, which sent shockwaves through political and business circles, was winding down.
Kingdom soared its 10 percent daily limit in unusually heavy trade; it remains 2.3 percent below its level before Prince Alwaleed was detained in early November, and since then, the market index has gained 8.2 percent.
The terms of the release of Prince Alwaleed and the other businessmen were not disclosed. A Saudi official said they had agreed to financial settlements after unspecified violations.
But Prince Alwaleed told Reuters that he had continued to maintain his innocence of any wrongdoing and did not expect to have to give up any assets. This suggested to investors that his company might not be seriously damaged by the affair.
Shares in Saudi fashion retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co. , whose major shareholder Fawaz Alhokair was also detained and then released at the weekend, jumped 6.6 percent in heavy trade.
The market index was weighed down, however, by a 2.3 percent drop by SABIC, which reported that quarterly net profit fell to 3.67 billion riyals ($979 million) from 4.51 billion riyals a year ago. SICO Bahrain had projected 5.34 billion riyals and NCB Capital, 5.41 billion riyals.
SABIC attributed the fall in profit to planned turnarounds at certain plants, which hit output, and also noted that 2016’s quarterly profit was helped by recognition of deferred tax assets.
Yanbu National Petrochemicals rose 1.4 percent, however, after reporting fourth-quarter profit of 778 million riyals, up 28 percent and beating SICO Bahrain’s forecast of 634 million riyals and NCB Capital’s 677 million riyals.
Saudi Telecom also beat estimates with a rise of fourth-quarter net profit to 2.65 billion riyals from 2.08 billion riyals; its shares climbed 2.5 percent.
The rest of the Gulf was sluggish. Dubai’s index edged down 0.1 percent, Abu Dhabi was down 0.2 percent and Qatar lost 0.5 percent.
Qatari real estate firm Ezdan, which had tumbled 6.8 percent on Thursday after reporting a drop in annual profit and halting its dividend, fell a further 2.2 percent.
But drilling rig provider Gulf International Services , the most heavily traded stock, climbed 3.3 percent to 20.45 riyals on the back of strong oil prices. It touched but then pulled back from technical resistance on the September peak of 20.99 riyals.


Canada’s Trudeau to unveil plan to address coronavirus outbreak, revive economy

Updated 23 September 2020

Canada’s Trudeau to unveil plan to address coronavirus outbreak, revive economy

  • Trudeau will stress the need for environmental policies such as retrofitting buildings, boosting the use of electric vehicles and biofuels
  • Trudeau is paring down talk of a green revolution to slash reliance on export of fossil fuels

OTTAWA: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will unveil on Wednesday what he says is a far-reaching plan to help the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic while ensuring efforts to fight the outbreak do not falter.
Trudeau, who has consistently vowed to do more to combat climate change, is paring down talk of a green revolution to slash reliance on export of fossil fuels as Canada faces a resurgence in coronavirus cases.
“The three prongs of what we are doing are fighting COVID-19, supporting Canadians, and a resilient recovery,” said a government source who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.
The so-called Speech from the Throne outlining government plans is a confidence measure and given that Trudeau’s Liberals only have a minority in the House of Commons, they will need the support of opposition legislators to avoid being toppled and plunging the country into an election.
The left-leaning New Democrats have made clear they are likely to vote in favor. Trudeau’s popularity initially soared over his handling of the pandemic, but polls suggest he and the Liberals were damaged by a scandal over his close ties to a charity chosen to run a student grant program.
Parliament is usually packed for the occasion but COVID-19 means few legislators will be present when Governor General Julie Payette — the representative of Queen Elizabeth, Canada’s head of state — delivers the speech at around 3 p.m. (1900 GMT).
Later on Wednesday, Trudeau plans to make a national address to address the urgency of fighting COVID-19, a spokesman said.
Officials say the throne speech will contain policy proposals such as childcare and an expanded employment insurance program rather than specific spending commitments, some of which will be disclosed in a fiscal update later in the year.
But Trudeau will stress the need for environmental policies such as retrofitting buildings, boosting the use of electric vehicles and biofuels, aides say.