DUBAI: Gulf stock markets mostly edged up Wednesday but stayed in small ranges with modest turnover as the crisis over the U.S. debt ceiling made it more risky to hold shares over the weeklong Eid holidays that start Sunday.
Some mediocre third-quarter earnings also deterred buying.
For example, Banque Saudi Fransi posted a 3.5 percent rise in net profit to 685 million riyals ($182.7 million), but missed analysts’ average forecast of 758.2 million riyals. The stock dropped 2.5 percent.
Saudi Arabian dairy producer Almarai, which dropped 1.9 percent Tuesday after its profit missed analysts’ forecasts by a small margin, fell a further 1.9 percent to 52.00 riyals Wednesday. That brought it near technical support at 51.67 riyals, the August low.
Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Maaden) edged up 0.4 percent after its third-quarter net profit more than trebled; analysts had expected a 40 percent drop in profit. But the rise was largely due to a one-off gain in the form of contract receipts from a phosphate joint venture.
The main Saudi market index climbed 0.2 percent.
Slightly better-than-expected earnings from Oman’s largest lender Bank Muscat, which posted a 10.1 percent increase in its third-quarter net profit, failed to boost the stock or the overall Omani market.
Bank Muscat ended flat while the Omani index edged up 0.06 percent. Sembcorp Salalah Power and Water, which jumped 24.5 percent in heavy trade when it listed Tuesday, fell back 2.3 percent as turnover shrank.
News that the United States was leaning toward withholding most military aid to Egypt did not affect that market, which rose 0.8 percent to its highest level since February.
Local investors are dominant in the market and have been pushing it up on the view that the army-backed government is succeeding in establishing its authority over the Islamist opposition. Cairo can count on heavy financial assistance from allied Gulf states pretty much regardless of what Washington does.