|03 August, 2017

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi supermarket Al Othaim may jump on Q2 beat

Stock markets in the Gulf may trade in a narrow range on Thursday after crude oil prices regained some positive ground overnight while strong quarterly results from a Saudi supermarket chain may help boost its shares.

DUBAI, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf may trade in a narrow range on Thursday after crude oil prices regained some positive ground overnight while strong quarterly results from a Saudi supermarket chain may help boost its shares.

On Wednesday, Brent contracts rose 1.1 percent, climbing back over $52 a barrel overnight. Although they weakened slightly early on Thursday, they were trading at $52.17 at 0546 GMT.

In Saudi Arabia shares of supermarket owner Al Othaim Markets may rise as its second-quarter net income of 71.21 million riyals surpassed expectations. NBC Capital had forecast a net income of 66 million and EFG Hermes expected Othaim to make 57.74 million riyals.

The company attributed the 43.1 percent increase in net profit from the prior-year period to growth in sales of existing and new branches, improvement in gross margin and increase in rent revenues from new leasable spaces.

Shares of Wataniya Insurance may get a boost after it reported an 81.1 percent on-year rise in second-quarter net profit to 7.68 million riyals.

Medical equipment and hospital operators Al Hammadi , which has a market value of 4.51 billion riyals ($1.20 billion) as of Wednesday's close, said it has entered preliminary discussions to study the "possibility of merger" with its smaller-sized peer National Medical Care .

Details of the potential merger were not disclosed.

Abu Dhabi's largest listed developer, Aldar Properties , reported a 5.6 percent drop in second-quarter profit to 620 million dirhams ($169 million) amid a double-digit drop in revenue.

SICO Bahrain and EFG Hermes had forecast a quarterly profit of 631.72 million dirhams and 600 million dirhams respectively for Aldar. ($1 = 3.7501 riyals)

(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Sunil Nair) ((celine.aswad@thomsonreuters.com)(+9715 62247653)(Reuters Messaging: celine.aswad.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))