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|17 February, 2019

Mideast Stocks - Robust company results boost sluggish Gulf real estate

Dubai index got a boost from stronger than expected fourth-quarter results for real estate companies

DUBAI - Gulf markets rose in early trade on Sunday on the back of positive company results at the end of last week and they were also supported by a rally in global stock markets on Friday.

The Dubai index, up 0.8 percent, got a boost from stronger than expected fourth-quarter results for real estate companies such as Dubai’s Emaar Properties and this was also positive for the United Arab Emirates’ sluggish real estate sector.

Dubai property prices have fallen steadily since a mid-2014 peak, hurting earnings of developers and forcing construction and engineering firms to cut jobs and halt expansion plans.

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But Emaar's results last week lifted the sector. DAMAC Properties was up 0.8 percent on Sunday, despite having reported a nearly 60 percent fall in full-year profit and an 87 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profits.

Emaar Properties, Emaar Malls and Emaar Development were up 3.7 percent, 2.5 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively.

In Abu Dhabi, where the index was up 0.3 percent, Aldar Properties was up 1.8 percent. Last week, the developer reported a rise in fourth-quarter earnings and higher dividends for 2018.

Abu Dhabi-listed RAK Properties, however, was down 1.8 percent after the company on Sunday reported a 21.5 percent drop in full-year profit and said its board proposed not to distribute dividends for 2018.

The Saudi index was down 0.2 percent in early trading, under pressure after Jabal Omar Development reported a 68 percent drop in full-year net profit earlier on Sunday.

The main index in Egypt EGX30 rose 1.7 percent. Orascom Investment Holding was up 2.5 percent and was among the stocks with the highest trading volume.

Orascom shares jumped last week after its chairman, Egyptian billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris, said he saw possible investment opportunities in North Korea if a summit between its leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump later this month was successful.

(Reporting by Davide Barbuscia. Editing by Jane Merriman) ((Davide.Barbuscia@thomsonreuters.com; +971522604297; Reuters Messaging: davide.barbuscia.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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