DUBAI:Shares of Telecom Egypt and property developer Talaat Moustafa rose on Monday after the two companies reported higher quarterly earnings, but declines in two heavyweight stocks dragged Cairo’s benchmark to a new 23-month low.
Gulf markets were mixed as those hardest hit by Sunday’s region-wide equity sell-off – Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia – clawed back some of their losses and others were muted.
Telecom Egypt was up 2.8 percent at 1009 GMT after the company reported a 360 percent increase in quarterly profit following changes to corporate tax regulations.
Talaat Moustafa climbed 2.7 percent a day after it announced a slight increase in quarterly profit.
Egypt’s index fell 0.6 percent to its lowest level since December 2013. Commercial International Bank – the Cairo bourse’s largest listed company with a market value three times that of its nearest rival – fell 2.4 percent and Edita Food Industries dropped 7 percent.
Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia’s benchmark climbed 0.3 percent, pulling away from Sunday’s 35-month low in thin trade to trim its 2015 losses to 17 percent.
Saudi’s slump, like those of other Gulf bourses, followed a renewed drop in oil prices. Crude benchmarks lost 8 percent last week alone and Gulf investors seem to have belatedly realized such a big hit to state finances will also impact listed companies’ earnings, especially as most blue chips are at least partly state-owned.
But a slight rebound on oil markets on Monday – U.S. light crude and Brent crude were up 1.2 and 0.9 percent respectively as of 1019 GMT – helped attract some buyers to Saudi equities.
Heavyweights Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) and National Commercial Bank rose 1.9 and 0.5 percent respectively.
Dubai’s index ended 0.9 percent higher, rebounding from Sunday’s 11-month low.
“For long-term investors and stock pickers, markets have started throwing up interesting investment opportunities,” said Shakeel Sarwar, head of asset management at Securities & Investment Co (SICO) in Bahrain.
Builder Arabtec jumped 8.4 percent, although it remains 84 percent below a May 2014 peak. The firm’s chairman said on Monday it had proposed building 13,000 homes in Egypt.
Drake & Scull fell 0.5 percent to a new all-time low a day after the contractor reported a third-quarter loss.
Abu Dhabi’s benchmark index rose 1 percent to 4,136 points, breaking through technical resistance at 4,120, according to a note from NBAD Securities.
Aldar Properties, which has reported higher profits in nine of the past 10 quarters, was the main support with a 3.3 percent gain.
Qatar’s index fell 0.5 percent, while Kuwait and Oman were virtually flat.