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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar may rise on strong QNB results; Zain Saudi in focus
April 12, 2017 / 6:05 AM / 8 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar may rise on strong QNB results; Zain Saudi in focus

DUBAI, April 12 (Reuters) - 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 million riyals.

The company attributed the net profit to lower amortization, rise in high margin segment revenue and decrease in distribution expense.

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 Dwarakanath)

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