DUBAI, April 19 Construction-related shares
underperformed Riyadh's stock market in early trade on Wednesday
because of poor first-quarter earnings, though troubled Dubai
builder Arabtec jumped after shareholders approved a capital
The Saudi index was almost flat after 30 minutes of
trade. But Arabian Cement slumped 5.6 percent after it
posted a net profit for the three months to March 31 of 100.1
million riyals ($26.7 million), down 55.4 percent from the
prior-year period. The company attributed the fall to lower
sales volumes and prices.
It said its adoption of IFRS accounting rules had made no
significant changes to its results. Companies in Saudi Arabia
are now obliged to report earnings based on IFRS, and the
securities regulator said last year that firms could report
interim earnings as long as 30 days after the end of each
period, rather than 15 days as previously.
Banking shares were buoyant with Arab National Bank
gaining 1.8 percent after reporting quarterly net
profit of 768 million riyals, up 2.5 percent from the prior-year
period. This came ahead of NCB Capital's estimate of 631 million
"The variance was mainly attributable to higher-than-
estimated operating income," said a note by NCB Capital.
Bank Albilad rose 1.6 percent after announcing
quarterly net income of 229 million riyals, up 31 percent and
close to NCB Capital's estimate of 220 million riyals.
Most Saudi banks have now reported earnings that were mostly
flat or lower, with the exception of the two largest lenders, Al
Rajhi and National Commercial Bank. Most
results have come in ahead of analysts' expectations.
The Dubai stock index extended on Tuesday's 0.9
percent gain to add 0.2 percent, as Arabtec jumped 8.3
percent in heavy trade on news that shareholders had approved
its 1.5 billion dirham ($409 million) new share issue and its
plan to use existing capital to wipe out accumulated losses.
Emaar Properties continued to be bid up, adding
1.0 percent after a gain of 3.3 percent on Tuesday. The stock
has been strong since the comany's annual general meeting on
Blue chips helped carry Abu Dhabi's index 0.3 percent
higher. First Abu Dhabi Bank, the largest lender in
the emirate, was up 0.5 percent and Aldar Properties
rose 1.4 percent.
Qatar's index dropped 0.5 percent in a broad-based
slide, with nine of the 10 most heavily traded stocks falling
and the tenth trading flat.
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia)