February 20, 2018 / 1:36 PM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly softens, Commercial International Bank buoys Egypt

* Saudi British Bank falls after Q4 earnings miss

* Property firms pull down Dubai as S&P warns of extended slump

* TAQA continues to soar in Abu Dhabi

* Qatar’s Widam Food plunges as it goes ex-dividend

* Aamal boosted by affiliate’s power cable contract

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Major Gulf stock markets softened on Tuesday, in line with a small pull-back by global bourses and oil prices, but Egypt was buoyed for a second day by strength in its biggest bank.

The Saudi stock index rose in early trade but closed 0.3 percent down as Saudi British Bank fell 2.2 percent after reporting a 16.3 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit to 706 million riyals ($188 million), missing analysts’ average forecast of 946.5 million riyals.

Saudi Printing & Packaging gained 1.2 percent after winning a 45.6 million riyal tender from the education ministry to print syllabuses.

Arabian Cement also climbed 1.2 percent after proposing a second-half dividend of 1 riyal per share, continuing payouts despite reporting annual net profit almost halved. For the second half of 2016 it paid 2 riyals.

Dubai’s index fell 0.8 percent, again depressed by weak real estate stocks, with Emaar Properties down 1.2 percent.

S&P Global Ratings’ analysts forecast on Tuesday that Dubai’s real estate slump would continue until at least 2020 and that residential property prices could decline by a further 10-15 percent over the next two years because of new supply.

Investment company GFH Financial, however, rose 1.6 percent after saying this week that it had rejected the resignation of Jassim Alseddiqi, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG), from the board. This appeared to suggest that business ties between GFH and ADFG would continue.

In Abu Dhabi, the index was little changed, though Abu Dhabi National Energy, which has been rising sharply since it reported nearly two weeks ago that it swung to an annual profit, jumped a further 13.4 percent in heavy trade.

The Qatar index edged down 0.1 percent. Widam Food plunged by 8 percent as it went ex-dividend, but Aamal Holding gained 2.3 percent after it said that Doha Cables, owned by Senyar Industries Qatar, in which Aamal owns 50 percent, was awarded a 1.24 billion riyal $341 million) two-year contract to supply power cables to Qatar General Electricity & Water Corp.

Egypt’s index added 0.4 percent as Commercial International Bank, which had added 1.1 percent on Monday, climbed a further 1.4 percent.


* Index fell 0.3 percent to 7,506 points.


* Index fell 0.8 percent to 3,270 points.


* Index edged down 0.04 percent to 4,578 points.


* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 9,099 points.


* Index rose 0.5 percent to 15,227 points.


* Index dropped 0.5 percent to 6,681 points.


* Index gained 0.9 percent to 1,345 points.


* Index edged down 0.1 percent to 5,000 points. (Editing by David Goodman)

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