Gulf slips, Egypt rebounds from Trump-linked slide

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DUBAI / Reuters

Most Gulf stock markets were weak on Thursday but Egypt’s bourse rebounded after sliding for three days partly on concern that U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies could hurt the economy.
The Saudi index edged down 0.03 percent as loss-making Nama Chemicals, which had soared 37 percent in the four days through on Tuesday after it announced the outline of a recovery plan, pulled back 6.3 percent.
Atheeb Telecom surged to its 10 percent daily limit, however, after jumping 9.4 percent on Wednesday in response to the sale of some of its tower network for 230 million riyals ($61.3 million) to Saudi Telecom Co.
Dubai’s index slipped 0.8 percent as blue chip Emaar Properties fell 2.4 percent. Gaining stocks outnumbered losers by 18 to 16, though, with builder Drake & Scull, the most active stock, rising 4.2 percent.
Abu Dhabi dropped 1.8 percent as telecommunications blue chip Etisalat fell 2.2 percent; earlier this week the holding company for rival du said it was launching Virgin Mobile-brand services in the United Arab Emirates.
Sharjah Islamic Bank sank 4.4 percent after releasing preliminary results for last year which showed a 12.9 percent rise in net profit.
Rakbank closed flat despite reporting that its 2016 net profit shrank 53 percent because of a big rise in impairments for doubtful loans, which eclipsed a slight rise in operating profit.
In Qatar, the index edged down 0.2 percent. Banks climbed, with Qatar National Bank adding 1.1 percent, but Qatar Electricity and Water fell 1.8 percent after reporting a 13.8 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit to 310 million riyals ($85.2 million);
EFG Hermes had forecast 386.1 million riyals and QNB Financial Services, 388.2 million riyals. The board kept the 2016 dividend flat from 2015.
Egypt’s index surged 1.8 percent after falling 4.4 percent in the three previous days, partly in response to Trump’s travel curbs. Although these did not target Egypt, some investors fear an aggressive and protectionist Trump administration could ultimately cut flows of U.S. trade, investment and aid into Egypt.
Investment bank EFG Hermes rebounded 2.5 percent.

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