May 8, 2019 / 8:23 AM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Financials pressure Abu Dhabi and Qatar, other Gulf markets down

May 8 (Reuters) - The Abu Dhabi and Qatar stock markets fell sharply in early trading on Wednesday, dragged down by financial shares as other major Gulf markets lost ground.

Abu Dhabi’s index dropped 1.2 percent as First Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s largest bank, shed 1.7 percent. Methaq Takaful Insurance and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank dropped 4.9 percent and 1.5 percent respectively.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank dropped 1.6 percent after posting a 5 percent fall in first-quarter profit last week. The bank, which formalised a merger with two other lenders last week, blamed lower interest income and higher cost of funds.

Qatar’s blue-chip index slid 1.4 percent, with 18 of its 20 stocks declining.

Qatar Islamic Bank and Qatar National Bank fell 2.1 percent and 1.5 percent respectively

Saudi Arabia’s main index was down 1.2 percent. Middle East Paper Co fell 6.4 percent to its lowest in more than a year after reporting a 79.3 percent fall in first-quarter net profit, citing a decrease in selling prices.

Arriyadh Development fell 1.9 percent after reporting a 16.7 percent drop in its first-quarter net profit.

Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia’s second-largest lender by assets, and Riyad Bank fell 1.8 percent and 2.7 percent respectively.

Dubai’s index was down 0.4 percent, weakened by its real estate firms. Emaar Development fell 0.3 percent after posting a 8.3 percent fall in its first-quarter net profit.

Amlak Finance lost 1.5 percent after it reported a loss for the first-quarter compared to a profit a year earlier. (Reporting by Karina Dsouza in Bengaluru Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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