MidEast Shares Mostly Lower

Middle East stocks mostly fell, with Saudi Arabia pressured by falling oil prices. Brent crude slipped below $51 a barrel overnight to its lowest close this year. In other news, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the government would focus on investing in the mining sector, developing the weapons industry, supporting growth of an auto industry and improving the kingdom’s logistics, both sea and air. He also said the government will announce a program to address Saudi Arabia’s shortage of private housing in Q3.

In company news, Advanced Petrochemical said Q1 net income fell 12.9% to 124 million riyals ($33.1 million) from the year-ago level and missed expectations from NCB Capital for 149 million riyals. GFH Financial said quarterly net income attributable to shareholders of $31.91 million, up from $6.06 million a year earlier. Ooredoo’s Omani unit is likely to face competition after Abu Dhabi’s Etisalat joined Saudi Telecom and Kuwait’s Zain Group in bidding for Oman’s third mobile license.

By Chris Robinson