July 10, 2017 / 7:37 AM / 6 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi gets a boost from retail, banking shares following Q2 profit, dividends

DUBAI, July 10 (Reuters) - Shares of Saudi Arabia’s United Electronics surged in early trade on Monday after reporting a quadrupling in its second quarter net income and its first dividend distribution since 2015, while the region’s banking shares were also strong.

Shares of United Electronics Company (Extra) surged by their 10 percent daily limit in the first 10 minutes of trade after reporting a second quarter net income of 43.4 million riyals ($11.57 million), up 287.5 percent from the prior year period.

In a separate statement, the board approved a cash dividend of 0.75 riyal per share for first half of 2017, the company’s first dividend distribution since 2015.

The positive mood spilled into other consumer related shares with electronics and bookstore operator Jarir adding 0.6 percent.

Analysts have been anticipating the retail sector to show signs of improvement in the second quarter from the previous year period because of the government’s decision to reinstate civil servants’ allowances and because of the Muslim month of Ramadan, which typically sees a rise in sales.

The Riyadh index was up 0.6 percent with all but one 12 of the listed banks rising. Banque Saudi Fransi surged 8.0 percent after the board recommended a cash dividend distribution of 1.05 riyals per share for the first half of this year.

Dubai’s index was up 0.7 percent as shares of developer Union Properties climbed 2.1 percent in heavy trade. Eighteen other shares rose while only five declined.

The top two most valuable companies in Abu Dhabi helped lift the index 0.2 percent higher; First Abu Dhabi Bank was up 0.5 percent and telecommunications operator Etisalat rose 0.6 percent.

Banking shares were the top gainers in Doha, with heavyweight Qatar National Bank rising 1.0 percent. The index was up 0.3 percent.

$1 = 3.7500 riyals Reporting by Celine Aswad

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