Dubai: Major Gulf stock markets traded lower on last day of the month in line with global peers that saw their fortunes tumble on Friday. The world economy is battling the virus with vaccines running in short supply, showing the long road ahead before the recovery.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell 1.2 per cent as Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) edged back 1.8 per cent after reporting a 99 per cent slump in its full-year net profit. The company blamed the lower profit on lower selling prices in most of its products in addition to impairment charges in certain financial assets amounting to 1.3 billion Saudi riyals.
However, the firm reported a quarterly profit of 2.2 billion Saudi riyals versus a loss of 0.9 billion riyals it incurred in the fourth quarter of 2019. The quarterly profit is mainly attributable to a reversal of impairment provisions amounting to 0.3 billion Saudi riyals, and to higher sales volume and lower average cost of sales.
National Shipping Company (Bahri) dropped 1.5 per cent after its fourth-quarter profit plunged 69 per cent. Its revenues from several sectors declined and especially from the oil sector which has seen transport rates take a hit in addition to a decrease in the number of voyages.
National Petrochemical Company shed 1.4 per cent after posting a more than 12 per cent fall in its fourth-quarter revenues compared to a year earlier. Though, its profit rose over 88 per cent to 251 million Saudi riyals on the back of rise in average selling prices of its products and decrease in average cost of feedstock. The company also cut down on other operational expenses.
Dubai Financial Market was down 1.6 per cent. Banking and real estate stocks acted as the biggest drag on the index. Dubai Islamic Bank traded 1.8 per cent lower, while Emirates NBD closed the session down 1.7 per cent. Among property stocks, Emaar Properties retreated 1.8 per cent and DAMAC Properties decreased 2.2 per cent.
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange shed 0.9 per cent, pulled lower by its banking stocks. Heavyweight lender First Abu Dhabi Bank lost 1.6 per cent and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank eased 1 per cent.
The index still ended the month higher by 10.9 per cent, and Dubai saw off the month up 6.5 per cent as they benefited from a rally triggered earlier this month by a robust rollout of the vaccine campaign.
Qatar Exchange's main 20-stock index slipped 0.6 per cent on wider sell-off with 17 of its stocks trading in red. Energy stocks weighed most on the indes as Qatar Fuel and Mesaieed Petrochemical dropped 2.2 per cent each. Banking stocks also retreated with Masraf Al Rayan and Qatar National Bank shedding 1 and 0.6 per cent, respectively.
Kuwait premier index outperformed its regional peers gaining 0.4 per cent as Kuwait Financial House rose 1 per cent and telco Zain climbed 1.1 per cent. Though, Qurain Petrochemical Industries edged back 1.4 per cent after its third-quarter profit fell by more than three quarters.
Oman's 30-company index also edged up 0.1 per cent as National Bank of Oman surged past 7 per cent, rebounding from historical lows seen last week after the bank announced its exposure to a defaulting firm and said it planned no distribution of dividends to shareholders.
Bahrain's index gained 0.4 per cent with most of its stocks trading unchanged from the previous session and Ahli United Bank rising 1.6 per cent.