Tadawul up 1.3% on oil’s strength

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Egypt’s stock market fell sharply on Tuesday after the country’s agriculture minister was arrested on suspicion of corruption, while Gulf bourses rose, supported by firmer oil prices and positive news.
The Cairo index dropped 3.4 percent to 6,924 points in a broad sell-off on strong volume.
Agriculture Minister Salah El Din Mahmoud Helal resigned on Monday and was arrested shortly after leaving the cabinet building. The prosecutor general’s office said it was investigating ministry officials including Helal on suspicion of taking bribes in exchange for granting land licences.
Shares in Orascom Telecom, Media and Technology tumbled 5.8 percent after its chairman and chief executive Naguib Sawiris said on Monday that he had not invested any of the $500 million he pledged to his country in March because of the slow pace of reforms promised by the government.
Sawiris blamed bureaucracy and middle-level officials in Egypt for what he called “stagnation”. Orascom Construction, another firm controlled by the Sawiris family, tumbled 8.2 percent.
Gulf markets, on the other hand, rose in line with oil prices. The main Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index added 1.3 percent to 7,578 points and most stocks in Riyadh were positive.
Oil shipper Bahri jumped 3.6 percent as the benchmark tanker rate from the Gulf to Japan continued to rebound, rising 63 percent after hitting a six-year low on Aug.26.
Qatar was the second best performer the region, rising 1.0 percent to 11,430 points in a broad rally after the country’s finance minister said his cabinet would not scale back economic development projects or cut state subsidies for fuel and food in response to low oil and gas prices.
The comments by minister Ali Sherif Al-Emadi, who said state finances were healthy and required no adjustments, set Doha apart from other Gulf Arab oil exporting states; the other five members of the Gulf Cooperation Council have begun to curb spending or review costly consumer subsidies because of the plunge of energy prices since last year.
Dubai’s index edged up 0.5 percent to 3,575 points, supported by property-related stocks as companies in the sector announced new projects and contracts at the Cityscape conference and exhibition, an annual industry event.
Engineering and construction firm Drake and Scull jumped 2.0 percent after announcing on Tuesday it had won 96.1 million dirhams ($26.2 million) in contracts in Abu Dhabi and Kuwait.
Conglomerate Dubai Investments climbed 0.9 percent after presenting its Mirdif Hills project, a mixed-use residential, commercial and retail development in Dubai spread across 3 million square feet; it provided no financial information, however.
Abu Dhabi’s bourse added 0.6 percent to 4,414 points thanks to telecommunications firm Etisalat, which surged 3.8 percent. Analysts say the company, which will from Sept.15 allow foreign and institutional investors to hold up to 20 percent of its shares, may become part of emerging market indexes and attract foreign fund inflows.

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