MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt advance as oil, global markets recover
The Egyptian Exchange - YOUM7 (Archive)

DUBAI: Stock markets in Saudi Arabia and Egypt advanced in early trade on Monday after oil prices rebounded moderately, helping lift international bourses.

Riyadh’s index edged up 0.6 percent as the petrochemical sector rose 0.9 percent with its largest constituent, Saudi Basic Industries, gaining 0.7 percent. Brent futures were up 2.3 percent at $33.76 a barrel.

“A confirmation of a bullish trend in stock markets will only come when we see hard evidence that oil prices have healed,” said a Dubai-based analyst.

The majority of small and mid-cap stocks in the insurance sector climbed as local traders accumulated shares. Insurers SABB Takaful and AlAhli Takaful each surged more than 5.0 percent.

But home appliance manufacturer Shaker Group fell 2.6 percent after the company announced on Monday it would not distribute dividends for 2015 to support future growth. Analysts at Riyadh-based NCB Capital had estimated the company would distribute 1.5 riyals per share; last year the cash distribution was 1.4 riyals.

Similarly, United Electronics was down 0.8 percent after the electronics retailer said it would hold back on cash dividend distributions for the fourth quarter of 2015 to finance its expansion plans. The company paid 1 riyal per share in the first half of 2015.

Last month the retailer reported a 9.5 percent rise in fourth-quarter profits with the top line jumping 17.0 percent.

Egypt’s main index rose 1.0 percent, adding to the 1.1 percent gain on Sunday. Beltone Financial surged 10 percent, its daily limit. It has more than doubled in the past nine trading days on expectations that its new owner, Orascom Telecom Media and Technology, will build it into a financial powerhouse.

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