DUBAI, April 16 Saudi Arabia's two largest
listed banks were the main drag on the index in early trade on
Sunday on news that U.S. insurers have filed a lawsuit against
the lenders over the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, while National
Bank of Kuwait rose on strong first quarter results.
Shares of Al Rajhi Bank were down 1.5 percent
and, National Commercial Bank down 2.1 percent on news
that the lawsuit was filed late on Wednesday in the U.S.
District Court in Manhattan, by more than two dozen U.S.
insurers affiliated with Travelers Cos, in the latest
effort to hold entities in Saudi Arabia liable for the attacks.
The two banks, and companies affiliated with Osama bin
Laden's family and several charities are being sued for at least
Riyadh's stock index was down 0.9 percent.
Elsewhere, shares of National Bank of Kuwait rose
1.5 percent after reporting an 8.1 percent rise in first quarter
net profit to 85.4 million dinars ($280.78 million), slightly
above two analysts' estimates of 83.3 million dinars and 84.0
The bank attributed the rise in net profit to higher net
interest income and income from Islamic financing as a result of
strong growth in business volumes.
The index on which it trades, however, was down 0.5
Dubai's index extended Thursday's 0.9 percent
decline and fell 0.3 percent as 15 shares retreated and only 7
rose. Builder Arabtec, the most traded share, fell 1.6
Shares of investment firm GFH Financial Group,
however, were up 0.9 percent after the company said one its
units had signed a deal to acquire a U.S. based data centre, in
partnership with a New York Stock Exchange listed real estate
investment trust, with a market value exceeding $100 million.
The subsidiary plans to offer the investment for private
In Abu Dhabi, shares of the now largest bank by assets in
the United Arab Emirates, First Abu Dhabi Bank, rose
1.4 percent. Shares of the lender had declined on five of the
last six trading sessions on profit taking.
The index was up 0.4 percent.
($1 = 0.3042 Kuwaiti dinars)
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Alison Williams)