MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi’s Al Othaim, Abu Dhabi’s Aldar outperform otherwise quiet region – Reuters

DUBAI, Aug 3 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s supermarket and Abu Dhabi’s largest listed developer outperformed an otherwise weak regional market in early trade on Thursday because of their strong second quarter earnings.

Shares of Al Othaim Markets rose 2.4 percent after 30 minutes of trade after its second-quarter net income of 71.21 million riyals surpassed expectations. NBC Capital had forecast a net income of 66 million and EFG Hermes expected Othaim to make 57.74 million riyals.

The company attributed the 43.1 percent increase in net profit from the prior-year period to growth in sales of existing and new branches, improvement in gross margin and increase in rent revenues from new leasable spaces.

Shares of airport ground handling service provider Saudi Ground Services slumped 4.4 percent after it reported a 37.6 percent drop in second quarter net income to 122.3 million riyals.

Shares of medical equipment and hospital operator Al Hammadi climbed 2.9 percent after the $1.2 billion company said it has entered preliminary discussions to study the “possibility of merger” with its smaller-sized peer National Medical Care. Its shares were up 2.8 percent.

Details of the potential merger were not disclosed.

The Riyadh index barely moved.

Abu Dhabi’s largest listed developer, Aldar Properties , was up 1.3 percent after it reported a 5.6 percent drop in second-quarter profit to 620 million dirhams ($169 million) amid a double-digit drop in revenue.

SICO Bahrain and EFG Hermes had forecast a quarterly profit of 631.72 million dirhams and 600 million dirhams respectively for Aldar.

Most other bluechips which had risen on Wednesday fell on profit taking with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank down 1.8 percent, dragging the index 0.8 percent lower.

Dubai’s index fell 0.4 percent as Emaar Properties lost 0.8 percent.

In Qatar, the index edged down 0.2 percent with developer of the Pearl Qatar, United Development declining 0.8 percent.

The company said it sold beachfront plot of land in the Pearl to Al Mana Group, where a commercial mall will be built, scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2018. The value of the sale was not disclosed.

Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Richard Balmforth

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi’s Al Othaim, Abu Dhabi’s Aldar outperform otherwise quiet region – Reuters}