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Oman Shares Fall Most Since March on Bank Results; Sipchem Drops

April 21 (Bloomberg) -- Oman’s benchmark stock index dropped the most in three weeks after the nation’s banks reported first-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates.

Muscat-based Bank Sohar posted its biggest drop in almost a month. Bank Muscat SAOG, the sultanate’s largest lender which last week said quarterly profit decreased 25 percent, lost 1.4 percent. The banks were the biggest decliners on the benchmark MSM30 Index, which retreated 0.9 percent to 6,144.98 at the close in the Omani capital. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index fell 0.1 percent.

Bank Sohar fell for a third day, trimming its gain this year to 7.4 percent, after the lender’s first-quarter profit of 6.1 million rials ($16 million) missed the 6.3 million-rial median estimate of three analysts compiled by Bloomberg. Bank Muscat’s quarterly net income came in 23 percent below estimates last week after the lender booked a provision and said net interest margins were squeezed. The shares are up 7.6 percent this year.

“This is simply profit booking that got accelerated by the less-than-impressive results of banks,” said Adel Waleed Nasr, local brokerage manager at United Securities LLC in Muscat. “The steep rise in shares of holding and investment companies have helped raise expectations.”

Oman National Investment Corp. slumped 4.7 percent, the most since May 14, while Gulf Investment Services Co. lost 3.4 percent, the most since July 24. Bank Sohar fell 3.1 percent to 0.189 rial. Bank Muscat decreased to 0.620 rial, the lowest since April 3.

Sipchem Profit

Oman’s index was the biggest decliner in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, where Bahrain’s measure dropped 0.5 percent. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul was little changed even as Saudi International Petrochemical Co. fell 1.1 percent, the most since March 17, after reporting a 57 percent slump in first-quarter profit.

Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index rose 0.3 percent and Dubai’s DFM General Index increased 0.5 percent. Kuwait’s SE Price Index was the GCC’s biggest gainer, advancing 0.6 percent, while Qatar’s QE Index rose less than 0.1 percent. Egypt’s EGX 30 Index fell 0.3 percent, led by Orascom Construction Industries, which decreased 0.8 percent.

In Israel, the benchmark TA-25 Index was little changed at the close in Tel Aviv and the yield on the government’s benchmark 4.25 percent bonds maturing in 2023 fell for a fifth day, losing three basis points, or 0.03 of a percentage point, to 3.64 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zainab Fattah in Dubai at zfattah@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net

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