* Saudi non-oil industrials up before deputy crown prince
* Kuwait's Warba Bank climbs on Q1 results
* Top UAE property developers rise ahead of earnings
* Qatar worst performer; regional funds bearish, poll finds
* Egypt follows emerging markets higher
By Celine Aswad
DUBAI, May 2 Shares in petrochemical giant Saudi
Basic Industries (SABIC) fell on Tuesday after the company
reported first-quarter results, while most equities in the Gulf
were sluggish as oil prices traded near five-week lows. Egypt
followed emerging markets higher.
SABIC posted a first-quarter net profit of 5.24
billion riyals ($1.40 billion), up 80 percent from the same
period last year and broadly in line with analysts' average
forecast of 5.35 billion riyals.
Analysts at NCB Capital said in a note that profits rose
because of higher petrochemical margins due to an increase in
product spreads, as well as higher fertiliser margins due to
stronger urea prices.
"Higher operational efficiency, strong balance sheet and an
attractive dividend yield of 5 percent are the key strengths of
the stock. The stock is trading at a forward 2017
price-to-earnings ratio of 15.6 times, lower than the sector
average of 16.6 times," NCB Capital said.
Nevertheless, SABIC shares fell 0.8 percent after three days
of strong gains in anticipation of the earnings announcement.
The Saudi stock index closed 0.1 percent higher.
Some investors took positions in non-oil industrial
companies ahead of a Saudi television interview with Deputy
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which television executives
said would be broadcast later in the day.
Prince Mohammed was expected to discuss government plans to
expand housing and industrial projects in the kingdom as part of
Emaar the Economic City (EEC) jumped 4.6 percent
in its heaviest trade since late March; the company is
developing a huge industrial zone including residential space.
Saudi Automotive Services, which could benefit from
the government's desire to create a domestic auto industry,
climbed 3.9 percent in its heaviest trade since early January.
Saudi Telecom rose 0.7 percent after it applied to
become the third mobile operator in Oman. On Tuesday Kuwait's
Zain Group submitted a bid for the licence. A
shortlist of applicants will be announced on Aug. 14 with the
winner revealed on Sept. 4, the companies said. Zain's shares in
Kuwait, however fell 2.3 percent.
Warba Bank rose 1.6 percent after the Kuwaiti
lender's first-quarter net income almost quadrupled from a year
earlier to 1.3 million dinars ($4.3 million). Kuwait's stock
index, however, fell 0.5 percent.
Dubai's index edged down 0.1 percent as some of the
previous session's top performers fell on profit-taking.
Healthcare and education investment company Amanat Holdings
lost 0.9 percent after its 4.5 percent surge on
Monday. Builder Arabtec, the most heavily traded stock
of the day, dropped 1.8 percent.
Emaar Properties, which was expected to report
first-quarter earnings after the close, rose 1.2 percent.
In Abu Dhabi, Aldar Properties, which was also
expected to report earnings imminently, jumped 2.8 percent while
the index slipped 0.1 percent.
Qatar's index dropped 1.2 percent to a fresh 20-week
low as three-quarters of blue-chip shares declined. The largest
listed lender by assets in the Gulf, Qatar National Bank
, fell 2.5 percent.
A Reuters survey this week showed that regional funds had
turned moderately negative on balance towards Qatari shares,
citing relatively high valuations and unexciting first-quarter
QNB, for example, is trading at a forward price-to-earnings
ratio of 9.9 times while its regional peers are around 8.8
times, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The index in Egypt, which was closed on Monday,
rose 0.8 percent. Shares which are constituents of international
emerging market benchmarks advanced with real estate investor
Talaat Mostafa Group adding 1.1 percent and Commercial
International Bank up 0.6 percent.
* The index added 0.1 percent to 7,013 points.
* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 3,437 points.
* The index slipped 0.1 percent to 4,553 points.
* The index dropped 1.2 percent to 9,993 points.
* The index added 0.8 percent to 12,530 points.
* The index fell 0.5 percent to 6,759 points.
* The index added 0.2 percent to 1,338 points.
* The index lost 0.3 percent to 5,510 points.
(Editing by Andrew Torchia)