Poor Q4 earnings hit UAE , Kuwait retreats in volatile trade

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Poor fourth-quarter earnings from two United Arab Emirates companies weighed on stock markets there on Thursday while Kuwait pulled back in another day of volatile trade.
Dubai’s index fell 1.2 percent to 3,683 points, retreating from major technical resistance at 3,737-38 points, the peaks in January.
Air Arabia slumped 8.6 percent in unusually heavy trade after it made a net loss attributable to owners of 38.6 million dirhams ($10.5 million) versus a net profit of 55.9 million dirhams in the prior-year period.
Analysts at EFG Hermes and SICO Bahrain had forecast a net profit of 131.8 million dirhams and 127.9 million dirhams respectively. The board, citing difficult conditions in the regional aviation industry, recommended a cash dividend of 7 percent for 2016, down from 9 percent for 2015. Union Properties dropped 6.2 percent after the mid-sized developer made a 2016 full-year net profit of 211.4 million dirhams, down 51 percent from 2015.
In Abu Dhabi, Dana Gas retreated 1.9 percent after its fourth-quarter net profit came in at $7 million, down from $134.2 million in the year-ago period. The sharp drop was partly due to fact that Dana made a one-off gain from an arbitration settlement in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Dana’s chief executive said the company continued to face challenges in the collection of receivables, especially from Egypt, and that it would not make new investments there. Abu Dhabi’s stock index edged down 0.1 percent.
Kuwait’s index fell 1.1 percent in heavy volume, reversing a rise of the same size on the previous day; the market surged 19 percent in January and has been sessawing in volatile trade since then as investors take profits.
Logistics conglomerate Agility tumbled 6.7 percent after saying it was seeking to settle by arbitration a $380 million dispute with Iraq’s government over its investment in the Iraqi telecommunications industry.

Egypt’s main index fell 0.9 percent. Juhayna Food Industries fell 2.2 percent but remains up 31.7 percent since Sunday, after investors bought back aggressively into a food sector hit by the devaluation of the Egyptian pound.
Loss-making Egyptian Iron and Steel soared 9.9 percent in unusually heavy trade after the company said it had laid out a preliminary plan to develop and upgrade some of its production lines with an expected cost of $200 million. Earlier this week, the commodities producer said sales grew 25.6 percent in the six months to Dec. 31.
Saudi Arabia’s index closed almost flat with declining shares outnumbering rising ones by 81 to 63. Samba Financial Group dropped 1.2 percent while about two-thirds of insurance stocks closed lower; Al Ahlia for Cooperative Insurance slumped 5.0 percent
However the largest listed stock, Saudi Basic Industries , gained 1.1 percent as Brent oil climbed back over $55.50 a barrel.
Retailer Jarir Marketing added 1.2 percent after the company said it had opened a new store in Al Madinah, while Tihama Advertising jumped 8.3 percent after the securities regulator approved the company’s planned share capital reduction.

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