Saudi Arabia’s stock market ended slightly lower on Sunday in response to Friday’s fall in oil prices, while the Qatari index inched higher to notch up a third consecutive session of gains.
Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets, had dropped around 2% on expectations that supply disruptions in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico would be short-term, while recession fears clouded the demand outlook.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index eased 0.1%, hit by a 1.2% fall in Riyad Bank and a 0.7% slip in Saudi British Bank.
Saudi Aramco shares closed flat, despite the state oil giant reporting a steep rise in quarterly profit.
Aramco on Sunday recorded its highest quarterly profit since going public in 2019, boosted by higher oil prices and refining margins.
Crude prices have soared in 2022 to their highest since 2008, climbing above $139 a barrel in March after the United States and Europe imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
Prices have since eased to below $100 a barrel as soaring inflation and higher interest rates raise fears of a recession that would erode demand.
Net profit increased 90% to 181.64 billion riyals ($48 billion) for the quarter to June 30 from 95.47 billion riyals a year earlier and compared with a mean estimate from 15 analysts of $46.2 billion.
Aramco declared a second-quarter dividend of $18.8 billion, in line with its own target, to be paid in the third quarter.
In Qatar, the index gained 0.4%, with Industries Qatar advancing 1.8%.
The petrochemical maker rose for a fifth session in six after last week posting a sharp rise in first-half net profit.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index was flat, as declines in financial shares were offset by gains elsewhere.
Among the gainers, Telecom Egypt jumped 3.9%.
On Thursday, the telecom operator reported second-quarter net profit of 2.42 billion Egyptian pounds ($127 million), up from 1.75 billion Egyptian pounds a year ago.
SAUDI ARABIA fell 0.1% to 12,514
QATAR rose 0.4% to 13,796
EGYPT was flat at 9,984
BAHRAIN added 0.8% to 1,912
OMAN up 0.1% to 4,626
KUWAIT lost 0.7% to 8,525