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Stock News: Saudi Arabia Down, Egypt Firms As Oil Slides

Stock News: Saudi Arabia Down, Egypt Firms As Oil Slides

Brent oil traded below $59 per barrel as U.S. crude inventories were expected to hit record highs.

Saudi Arabia’s stock market fell in early trade on Thursday after oil prices tumbled, while Egypt edged up as investors made bets ahead of fourth-quarter earnings reports.

Brent oil traded below $59 per barrel as U.S. crude inventories were expected to hit record highs, while analysts said a possible rise in Saudi Arabia’s output could stoke oversupply built up in the past few months.

The main Saudi stock index fell 1.3 per cent as Saudi Basic Industries, the Kingdom’s top petrochemicals producer, dropped 3.6 per cent.

Most other stocks also declined. Tabuk Agricultural Development Company fell 0.9 per cent after its board proposed no cash dividend for the first time since 2004 in order to save cash for equipment upgrades.

Dallah Healthcare was one of just a few gainers, jumping 3.6 per cent after it announced a dividend of SAR1 per share for 2014. The dividend is lower than SAR1.50 it paid for 2013, but the company also announced the issue of one bonus share for every four outstanding shares.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s market edged up 0.2 per cent amid a mixed performance by stocks. El Sewedy Electric, the largest listed cable maker in the Arab world, was the main support and jumped 2.4 per cent. The company is expected to publish its fourth-quarter earnings in coming days.

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