DUBAI Oct 12 Gulf stock markets consolidated in
quiet trade early on Wednesday but Saudi banks rose after a
major lender posted earnings in line with estimates.
The Saudi stock index gained 0.4 percent in the
first 75 minutes of trade as the banking sector index
rose 0.7 percent.
Banque Saudi Fransi, the second major Saudi lender
to report third-quarter earnings, gained 2.8 percent after it
posted a net profit of 1.01 billion riyals ($269 million), a 1.0
percent dip from the same period last year. That was in line
with analysts' average expectation of 1.04 billion riyals. The
bank cited higher expenses and impairment charges.
Riyad Bank dropped earlier this week when it
posted an 18.9 percent fall in third-quarter profit, missing
analysts' forecasts, so Saudi Fransi's results reassured the
sector. Riyad shares were up 0.5 percent on Wednesday morning.
Telecommunications firm Zain Saudi climbed 4.2
percent after it signed letter of intent with a unit of utility
Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) to use SEC's fibre optic
network, conduct mutual marketing of products and services, and
obtain new locations for telecommunications towers.
Last week government said it would provide
telecommunications operators with "unified licences" allowing
them to offer a full range of services; analysts said this could
help Zain Saudi compete against market leader Saudi Telecom
, which was down 0.5 percent on Wednesday morning.
Dubai's index edged down 0.3 percent after global
markets pulled back but construction firm Drake & Scull
, the most heavily traded stock, was up for a third
straight day after it replaced its chief executive. The stock
gained 1.2 percent.
Abu Dhabi's index dropped 0.3 percent as Abu Dhabi
Commercial Bank fell 1.1 percent, but Abu Dhabi
National Energy Co added 5.2 percent.
Qatar slipped 0.4 percent as Qatar National Cement
lost 1.3 percent after reporting that profit for the
first nine months of this year had edged down 1 percent.
(Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)