Crude oil below $52 hits Saudi petchems in otherwise upbeat region

Stock markets in the Gulf were mixed on Wednesday.

Image for illustrative purposes. An investor monitors a screen displaying stock information at the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 18, 2016.

Image for illustrative purposes. An investor monitors a screen displaying stock information at the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 18, 2016.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf were mixed on Wednesday, with Saudi Arabia dragged down by a drop in crude oil prices while blue chips led gains the United Arab Emirates and Qatar higher.

Brent crude futures lost 1.7 percent on Tuesday and traded below $52 a barrel for most of Wednesday. Consequently, 11 of the 14 petrochemical shares listed in Riyadh fell, including Saudi Basic Industries , which dropped 1.3 percent. The Riyadh index lost 0.4 percent.

Shares of Nama Chemicals fell 0.5 percent after it reported a smaller net loss in the second quarter compared with last year.

Shares of real estate manager Taiba Holding fell 0.1 percent after its second-quarter net profit fell 26.9 percent year-on-year to 54.4 million riyals ($14.51 million).

The company attributed the lower profits to the decrease in the operating revenues of hotels and resorts segment.

Dubai's index rose 0.3 percent to 3,661 points, its fourth back-to-back session of gains. Technically, the index is bullish, and analysts at NBAD Securities believe the market is poised to target its yearly high of 3,738 points in the coming weeks.

On Wednesday, shares of Emaar Properties , which has yet to report earnings, added another 1.2 percent taking its four-day gains to 4.3 percent.

Dubai Investment which earlier this week had reported a 12.6 percent drop in its second quarter net profit attributable to shareholder, gained 2.5 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, shares of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank rose 1.9 percent. Analysts at Oman's Ubhar Capital believe that the bank is trading at an attractive price-to-book multiple - a measure commonly used for banks - versus its peers.

"The bank's valuation is primarily driven by its strong core operating performance which warrants sustained dividend payouts over the forecast period,"U-Capital said .

First Abu Dhabi Bank also rose, by 1.9 percent, helping take the index 1.0 percent higher.

Qatar's index snapped a five-day loosing streak as 11 of the top 20 most valuable shares rose, while only seven declined. Liquefied natural gas shipper Qatar Gas Transport was the top gainer amongst the large caps, jumping 4.0 percent.

Egypt's index finished flat with the top six of the most valued real estate developers finishing mixed; Heliopolis for Housing and Development added 2.1 percent while Palm Hills Development lost 1.6 percent.

Analysts at Cairo's Naeem Brokerage expect real estate developers to come under pressure in the second quarter and for the rest of the year because of higher interest rates, inflationary cost pressures and, a possible slowdown in demand.



* The index fell 0.4 percent to 7,081 points.


* The index added 0.3 percent to 3,661 points.


* The index gained 1.0 percent to 4,608 points.


* The index rebounded 0.6 percent to 9,361 points.


* The index edged up 0.07 percent to 13,405 points.


* The index edged down 0.3 percent to 6,824 points.


* The index fell 0.1 percent to 1,326 points.


* The index added 0.5 percent 5,074 points.

($1 = 3.7501 riyals)

(editing by Larry King) (( 5 6224 7653)(Reuters Messaging:

More From Equities