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MIDEAST STOCKS Major Gulf bourses gain, Saudi Aramco’s Q2 profit surges

Saudi woman walks at the Saudi stock market (Tadawul), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri//File Photo

Aug 8 (Reuters) – Major stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Sunday, helped by a slew of corporate earnings, with the Abu Dhabi index closing at a new record high.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index (.TASI) edged up 0.1%, with Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) gaining 0.7% and Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services (4013.SE) advancing over 2% following an increase in quarterly net profit.

The healthcare firm also proposed a cash dividend of 0.70 riyal per share for the second quarter.

However, the index’s gains were capped by losses at Saudi Telecom Company (7010.SE) and the kingdom’s biggest lender Saudi National Bank (1180.SE), which were down 1.5% and 1%, respectively.

The two companies reported a higher second-quarter net profit, however, they saw a decrease sequentially in earnings.

Elsewhere, oil behemoth Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) added 0.3%.

Aramco reported a near four-fold rise in second-quarter net profit on Sunday, beating expectations and boosted by higher oil prices and a recovery in oil demand. read more

Aramco’s net profit rose to 95.47 billion riyals ($25.46 billion) for the quarter to June 30 from 24.62 billion riyals a year earlier.

Dubai’s main share index (.DFMGI) added 0.1%, supported by a 1.9% gain in logistic firm Aramex (ARMX.DU), reversing early losses.

On Thursday, the courier firm said quarterly net profit fell 31% due to the disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global supply chains.

The company said the business continued to invest in digital transformation to improve efficiencies and adapt to consumer and industry trends.

In Abu Dhabi, the index (.ADI) advanced 1.1%, boosted by a 3.4% jump in conglomerate International Holding (IHC.AD) and a 0.6% increase in First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD).

The Qatari benchmark (.QSI) gained 0.4%, with Qatar National Bank (QNBK.QA), the Gulf’s largest lender, rising 0.9%.

Among other gainers, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Co (MPHC.QA) climbed 2%, after reporting a net profit of 909.4 million riyals ($248.61 million), up from 135.1 million riyals a year earlier.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index (.EGX30) inched up 0.1%, led by a 0.3% gain in top lender Commercial International Bank (COMI.CA).

Egypt’s central bank kept its key interest rates unchanged at its monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting on Thursday, the bank said in a statement.

** Kuwait was closed for a public holiday.

($1 = 3.7501 riyals)

($1 = 3.6580 Qatar riyals)

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; editing by David Evans

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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