Poor corporate earnings, many of them the result of Saudi Arabia's austerity policies and sluggish economic growth, weighed on the Saudi stock market in early trade on Tuesday as regional bourses were generally soft.
The Saudi stock index edged down 0.1 per cent as National Shipping Co (Bahri) sank 5.3 per cent after reporting quarterly net profit plunged to 153.9 million Saudi riyals from 487.1m riyals a year earlier, as revenues also tumbled. It cited lower shipping spot market rates and higher bunker costs.
Al Yamamah Steel lost 4.3 per cent after reporting a quarterly profit of 17.2m riyals, down from 67.9m riyals, as sales fell steeply.
Saudi Arabia Fertilizers Co (Safco) dropped 2.6 per cent after quarterly profit shrank to 204.3m riyals from 302.3m riyals and sales declined. And the home appliance distributor Shaker tumbled 6.7 per cent after swinging to a quarterly net loss as sales dropped sharply.
However, National Gas and Industrialization gained 2.6 per cent after quarterly profit climbed to 37.8m riyals from 23m riyals. Dallah Healthcare edged up 0.6 per cent after quarterly profit rose to 70m riyals from 54.1m riyals.
In Dubai, the index slipped 0.4 per cent, hit by a 0.7 per cent decline in blue chip Emaar Properties.
Telecommunications firm du rose only 0.5 per cent after reporting a quarterly net profit of Dh446.6m, almost unchanged from a year earlier but well above forecasts of Dh373.2m by SICO Bahrain and Dh409.3m by EFG Hermes.
The results ended a major earnings slump; du had reported declining year-on-year profits in the preceding 10 quarters. Revenues rose from a year ago and the first-half dividend stayed the same.
Unusually, the two most heavily traded stocks were Islamic insurers, with Islamic Arab Insurance gaining 5.5 per cent and Dubai Islamic Insurance soaring 11.5 per cent.
Qatar's index dropped 0.4 percent as Qatar Gas Transport, the most active stock, fell 2.3 per cent after saying first-half profit dropped to 408.3m Qatari riyals from 500.3m riyals, on the back of a much smaller decline in revenue.