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MidEast Shares Mixed; Saudi Stocks Barely Gain After Expected Announcement of Land Tax

MidEast shares were mixed, with Saudi Arabia barely overcoming a drop in real estate stocks after the introduction of a land tax.

As part of the country's economic reform campaign, the Housing Ministry, as expected, said on Sunday it was imposing an annual tax on undeveloped urban land equivalent to 2.5% of the value of the land. Details of how the tax will be applied were not released.

Banks, though, edged up on hopes demand for loans to finance real estate development projects could pick up as a result of the tax.

In company news, Air Arabia reported a 42.2% jump in Q1 net profit to 111.1 million dirhams ($30.3 million), topping the average Reuters forecast 88.8 million dirhams.

DAMAC Properties reported a 15% decline in Q1 net profit, as revenue shrank by a third compared to a year earlier.

Agthia Group said Q1 net profit rose 14% year-on-year rise on a 12% increase in net revenue.

Telecom Egypt posted an almost 116% jump in Q1 net profit, citing growth in its retail business.

Orascom Construction said it won two contracts worth 270 million euros ($308 million) for work on the third phase of Cairo's third metro rail line.

Saudi Arabia's main index edged up 0.3% to 6,694 points, Dubai slipped 0.3% to 3,316 points, Abu Dhabi rose 0.6% to 4,476 points, Qatar jumped 1.3% to 9,855 points, Egypt gained 1% to 7,646 points, Kuwait eased 0.1% to 5,364 points, Oman added 0.4% to 6,020 points and Bahrain fell 0.5% to 1,106 points.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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