Gulf stock markets managed to register gains Wednesday, the final trading session before the Eid break.
Saudi Arabia’s bourse broke through the psychologically-important 7,000-point mark led by food stocks.
The stock benchmark Tadawul All Share Index closed 0.51 percent higher at 7,003.79 points.
"Some declines were expected today as it’s the last day of trading. However, the market is around the bottom and there’s not much profit-taking," said Hesham Tuffaha, head of asset management at Bakheet Investment Group.
The agricultural and food index advanced 3.2 percent, led by dairy and food producer Almarai Co, which jumped 10 percent in its largest one-day gain in more than two years. The dairy firm closes at its highest level since June 18.
Saudi Fisheries Co. gained 1 percent, with Halwani Brothers Co rising 1.9 percent.
Banks also performed well, with Bank Al Bilad climbing 3.3 percent to its highest finish since April 22. SABB and Banque Saudi Fransi gained 1.5 and 0.9 percent respectively.
However, Bank Al Jazira dropped 0.7 percent, trimming its August rise to 13.4 percent.
Elsewhere, Dubai index edged up 0.09 percent to 1,579 points, and Abu Dhabi rose 0.1 percent to 2,557 points.
Kuwait measure added 0.2 percent to 5,713 points, while Oman index gained 0.2 percent to 5,509 points.
Bahrain measure added 0.3 percent to 1,080 points, whereas Qatar benchmark rose 0.03 percent to 8,421 points.
Moreover, Egypt’s index continued its advance for a fourth consecutive session, adding 0.2 percent to close at 5,120 points.
The North African country will discuss the possibility of a bigger-than-expected $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund when a delegation from the Washington-based body visits Cairo this month, its finance minister said.
Dubai contractor Drake & Scull International slumped to a one-week low on Wednesday after it posted disappointing second-quarter numbers that missed forecasts, but trading on most regional markets were muted ahead of the Eid holidays.
Drake shares dropped 1.9 percent to its lowest since Aug 7. The stock, which has gained 24 percent year-to-date, accounted for nearly half the shares traded on the emirate’s bourse.
The contractor blamed high acquisition funding costs and contract provisioning for the drop in earnings.
Developer Deyaar also slipped 0.6 percent, after it reported a marginal increase in profits aided by a sharp drop in expenses.
However, Dubai’s top real estate firm Emaar Properties reversed losses in early trade and climbed 0.3 percent, partly offseting declines on other property-related stocks.
Emaar said Tuesday that revenue from apartment sales more than doubled in the second quarter offsetting a drop in sales of commercial units and villas.
"We are seeing some slowdown ahead of the Eid holiday but the UAE has had a decent rally, with prices adjusted upwards on Q2 numbers," said Julian Bruce, EFG-Hermes’ director of institutional equity sales.
"We’ve some misses, most notably Arabtec and now Drake, so we could see some consolidation going forward before we look for the next leg-up."
Property stocks in Dubai have rallied recently following positive second-quarter earnings and hope that the near four-year real estate market slump is ending.
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