MidEast Stocks Mixed

Middle East shares were mixed, with Egypt slumping after Reuters reported the finance ministry would recommend a tax on stock exchange transactions. The story, said the finance ministry would recommend a 0.2% stamp duty on stock transactions for both sellers and buyers, sparked an intense sell off. But some said the 0.2% was less than the 0.4% to 0.5% rate some market participants had expected. Those people attributed the sell-off more to the strengthening of the pound, which has spurred foreign investors to take profits.

In company news, Global Telecom Holding continued to drop after the company was fined $60 million in a lawsuit.
Taiba Holding’s board recommended paying a cash dividend of 0.4 riyals ($0.11) per share for Q4, taking the full year dividend to 1.6 riyals, compared to 2.0 riyals paid to shareholders in 2015.

Ooredoo said Q4 net profits were pretty flat at 361 million riyals ($99 million). Its board recommended a cash dividend of 3.5 Qatari riyals per share for 2016, higher than the 3.0 riyals per share in the previous year.

By Stephen Holmes