DUBAI Feb 9 Poor fourth-quarter earnings from
two United Arab Emirates companies weighed on stock markets
there in morning trade on Thursday while Saudi Arabia barely
Dubai's index was pulled 0.7 percent lower as Air
Arabia dropped 5.8 percent in unusually heavy trade
after it made a net loss attributable to owners of 38.6 million
dirhams ($10.5 million) versus a net profit of 55.9 million
dirhams in the prior-year period.
Analysts at EFG Hermes and SICO Bahrain had forecast a net
profit of 131.8 million dirhams and 127.9 million dirhams
respectively. The board, citing difficult conditions in the
regional aviation industry, recommended a cash dividend of 7
percent for 2016, down from 9 percent for 2015.
Builder Arabtec, which has not yet reported
earnings, fell 2.1 percent.
In Abu Dhabi, Dana Gas retreated 3.7 percent after
its fourth-quarter net profit came in at $7 million, down from
$134.2 million in the year-ago period. The sharp drop was partly
due to fact that Dana made a one-off gain from an arbitration
settlement in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Dana's chief executive said the company continues to face
challenges in the collection of receivables, especially from
Egypt. Abu Dhabi's stock index edged down 0.1 percent.
Saudi Arabia's index was flat after half an hour.
The largest listed stock, Saudi Basic Industries, rose
0.5 percent as Brent oil climbed back over $55.50 a
Shares in Tihama Advertising jumped 8.3 percent
after the securities regulator approved the company's planned
share capital reduction.
Other small and mid-sized shares, often traded by day
traders, pulled back on profit-taking. Al Ahlia for Cooperative
Insurance dropped 2.9 percent and polymer maker Nama
Chemicals fell 3.4 percent.
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Tom