DUBAI Jan 9 One of Saudi Arabia's largest
retailers reported an increase in fourth-quarter earnings,
helping its shares outperform an otherwise weak market, while
stock markets in the United Arab Emirates were supported by
gains in speculative shares.
Jarir Marketing added 0.4 percent after the
electronics and bookstore retailer reported a 3.5 percent
increase in fourth-quarter net profit on Monday as sales of
electronic goods rose. Net profit came in at 215.3 million
riyals ($57.4 million) in line with the 203.0 million riyals
forecast by analysts.
But the overall index extended its decline from the
previous session and fell 0.6 percent after 50 minutes of trade.
Most petrochemical shares pulled back as Brent crude futures
fell towards $56.50 a barrel. Saudi Kayan Petrochemical
was down 2.3 percent.
Dubai's index was up 0.1 percent. Some smaller
companies in finance and insurance were the top gainers, with
Ajman Bank jumping 10.4 percent.
Some traders have been speculating there may be
consolidation in the finance industry following the merger of
National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank, which is set to
complete this year.
Abu Dhabi's index was up 0.5 percent, lifted by gains
in small and mid sized shares. Food producer Agthia Group
was up 4.1 percent.
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Louise Heavens)