April 26, 2018 / 8:53 AM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks slip; Qatar's Ooredo down on earnings miss

DUBAI, April 26 (Reuters) - Saudi stocks slipped in early trade on Thursday, with investors continuing to sell some blue chips after the index hit a more than two-year high earlier in the week. Other Gulf markets were mostly sluggish.

The Saudi index was down 0.5 percent. Petrochemicals firms were the biggest drag with the index’s most heavily weighted company, Saudi Basic Industries Corp, down 1.0 percent.

Saudi International Petrochemical Co (Sipchem) dropped 5.4 percent after missing earnings forecasts with a first-quarter net profit of 151 million riyals, up 65 percent on year. Three analysts surveyed by Reuters had on average forecast a profit of 189 million riyals.

Alinma Bank slipped 0.3 percent despite surpassing a SICO Bahrain earnings forecast for its quarterly profit of 501.5 million riyals. The bank posted a profit of 582 million riyals.

Tourism company Al Hokair slipped 1.0 percent after swinging to a small net loss in the first quarter.

Qatar’s index fell 0.3 percent after a spate of strong earnings helped recent gains. The index is up 7 percent so far this year.

Telecommunications firm Ooredoo fell 2.0 percent after reporting a 17 percent decline in quarterly net profit. Ooredoo’s revenues suffered from industry-wide challenges in Indonesia, its biggest international market.

Dubai’s index was flat, with Emaar Properties rebounding 2.2 percent and DAMAC Properties up 0.7 percent as bargain-hunting emerged in the real estate sector after recent selling.

Both stocks are down more than 15 percent so far this year on anxiety about the outlook for the Dubai real estate market.

Abu Dhabi’s index was up 0.1 percent. Top mover Dana Gas rose 3.5 percent after falling for several days. (Reporting by Katie Paul; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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