Stock News: Markets Slide In Thin Trade As Oil Slips

Dubai’s index dropped 2.4 per cent with most stocks down.

Most Gulf stock markets fell in low-volume trade on Sunday after Brent crude closed down nearly a dollar a barrel at $56.42 on Friday.

Saudi Arabia’s main equities index edged down 0.3 per cent with most blue chips in the red. The kingdom’s market is heavily weighted towards petrochemical producers, whose profits may be hurt if oil’s weakness is prolonged.

However, shares in Advanced Petrochemical Co bucked the trend and surged 4.6 per cent after the firm said its 2014 net profit rose 34.9 per cent on higher sales volumes and prices as well as cheaper feedstock.

The company was the first one in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf to report full-year results. More positive results could buoy regional markets in coming weeks.

Dubai’s index dropped 2.4 per cent with most stocks down. Heavyweight developer Emaar Properties fell 1.5 per cent, while builder Arabtec Holding, the most traded stock, dropped 2.7 per cent.

Abu Dhabi’s bourse fell 1.2 per cent as Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Aldar Properties lost 4.0 and 5.7 per cent respectively.

Qatar’s benchmark edged down 0.5 per cent and Kuwait slipped 0.2 per cent. Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s index edged down 0.5 per cent.

Trading volumes were relatively low across the region compared with the previous few weeks.

Although Gulf markets have become less prone to panic sell-offs since Saudi Arabia announced last month a 2015 state budget which maintains spending at a high level, investors may choose to stay on the sidelines until oil prices find a floor.