Taqa fell in early trade on weak profit growth
Zain stocks surge on Omantel move, indices little changed
Gulf stock indexes moved little in early trade on Thursday, continuing a two-week-old trend, with Kuwaiti telecommunications firm Zain a standout gainer in response to an investment by Omantel.
The Kuwaiti index edged up 0.3 per cent; Zain climbed as much as 12 per cent in heavy trade before closing up 4.4 per cent after signing a deal to sell 425.7 million treasury shares, equivalent to 9.84 per cent of the company, to Omantel for US$846 million.
The purchase, subject to regulatory approval, was announced days before Oman is to shortlist qualified applicants for a third mobile licence, for which Zain has bid. Omantel, which is making the investment to diversify beyond its small home market, was flat, even as analysts questioned the 33 per cent premium offered for Zain shares. Oman’s bourse finished 0.1 per cent lower
Dubai's index edged up 0.1 per cent as amusement park operator DXB Entertainments, which had dropped 2.5 per cent to 81.5 fils on Wednesday in response to poor first-half earnings, rebounded 0.1 per cent.
In a research note, Arqaam Capital kept a "hold" rating on the stock with an 84 fils target, saying a plan to re-organise the company's business could help to shrink losses.
Emaar Properties and Union Properties led gainers, rising 0.8 per cent and 1.2 per cent.
Abu Dhabi's index was flat, falling 0.1 per cent, as Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (Taqa) dropped 2 per cent after reporting a small profit in the three months to June.
Gains by ADCB and Aldar Properties were cancelled out by falls by Etisalat and RAK Ceramics.
The Saudi Arabian index edged up 0.2 per cent as Al Rajhi bank gained 0.5 per cent to 63.34 Saudi riyals. Saudi Printing and Packaging surged 2.7 per cent to 23.38 riyals and was one of the most heavily traded stocks, after rising on Wednesday above technical resistance on its December peak of 21.85 riyals.
Arabian Cement fell 0.5 per cent after reporting a sharp drop in second-quarter net profit that missed average analyst forecasts.
Qatar's index dropped 0.7 per cent as the biggest bank, Qatar National Bank, lost 0.7 per cent.