DUBAI, April 12 Qatar National Bank, the largest
bank in the region by assets, reported better than expected
first-quarter earnings that will help lift its local bourse,
while Zain Saudi shares may jump after it swung to a
net profit in the first quarter.
Qatar National Bank (QNB) reported a 12 percent
increase in first-quarter net profit on Tuesday to 3.2 billion
riyals ($879.05 million), fuelled by a 33 percent loan growth
after its takeover of Turkey's Finansbank.
Analysts at Arqaam Capital had forecast a quarterly net
profit of 3 billion riyals.
QNB was the second Gulf bank to report earnings on Tuesday,
with Dubai Islamic Bank, the United Arab Emirates'
largest sharia-compliant lender, having posted a 4 percent
increase in first-quarter net profit. Its shares outperformed
peers on Tuesday.
In Saudi Arabia, the country's third largest mobile operator
by number of subscribers, Zain Saudi swung to a
first-quarter net profit of 45 million riyals ($12 million),
from a loss of 250 million riyals in the prior year period.
The company's revenue rose 9 percent to 1.77 billion riyals
for the same period.
Analysts had forecast the company to post a loss of 104
The company attributed the net profit to lower amortization,
rise in high margin segment revenue and decrease in distribution
Crude futures contracts were on track for their longest
streak of gains since August 2016, which may give oil-sensitive
stocks a leg-up on Wednesday.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for
oil, were at $56.35 per barrel at 0555 GMT, up 0.2 percent and
near their highest since early March.
A rise in geopolitical tensions have however put global
equities on the defensive this week, and stock markets in the
region that are exposed to foreign funds may trade sideways.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
was near flat in morning trade on Wednesday and
has closed lower in five of the last seven sessions.
($1 = 3.6403 Qatar riyals)
($1 = 3.7502 riyals)
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Keith Weir and Biju