Edition:
India

Shakeel Ahmad

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi funds, oil assurance steady stocks after Aramco attack

16 Sep 2019

* Most Banks rise in Saudi * Lender FAB boosts Abu Dhabi * Financials, property aid Dubai * Industries Qatar, QNB lift Qatar By Shakeel Ahmad Sept 16 Saudi Arabian stocks were supported by domestic funds on Monday after top oil producer Saudi Aramco assured some clients that there will be no supply shortage as a result of Saturday's attack on its facilities. The attack shut about 5% of global supply, sending oil prices as much as 19.5% higher, their biggest intra-day percentage gain since 1991's Gulf War. Despite Aramco's assurance, concerns remain over oil supply which could be disrupted if the outage continued for long, while a full return to normal oil production volumes "may take months", sources told Reuters. It could also have a wider impact on Saudi Aramco's planned initial public offering (IPO) on its home market. "The attacks could complicate Aramco’s IPO plans given rising security risks and potential impact on its valuation," Eurasia wrote in a note to clients. After losing 1.1% on Sunday, the country's stock market index closed 1% higher with its biggest lender National Commercial Bank surging 4.2% and Al Rajhi Bank rising 1.4%. Traders cited buying by local and regional investors, as most foreign active investors have already exited the index, which is trading roughly flat year-to-date after it rose as much as 20% at its peak in May. "Our channel checks suggest most of the ‘active’ foreign money in KSA has already exited the market and what is left is passive funds, who have to stay invested," said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. It means local and regional institutions and retail investors are calling the shots and that supply can be relatively better controlled with some support from domestic funds, Bhandari added. Other major Gulf markets also rose as cheaper valuations attracted the investors. The Abu Dhabi index rose 1.7% boosted by a 2% jump in the United Arab Emirates' biggest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 2.6% Emirates Telecommunications Group "In terms of fundamentals, certain high quality companies across MENA are currently being undervalued and investors are gradually adding to their exposure," Bhandari said. Qatar's index gained 1.1% with petrochemical maker Industries Qatar up 2.3% and Qatar National Bank 1.3% higher. In Dubai, the index was down 0.3% with the market heavyweight lender Emirates NBD gaining 0.8%. The emirate's largest lender has risen 17.5% this month after it raised its foreign ownership limit to 20% from 5% and announced its intention to lift the limit to 40%. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index was down 0.4% with real estate investment firm Talaat Mostafa Group Holding dropping 2.1%. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 1% to 7,827 points ABU DHABI The index rose 1.7% to 5,161 points DUBAI The index was up 0.3% to 2,878 points QATAR The index gained 1.1% to 10,512 points EGYPT The index lost 0.4% to 14,970 points BAHRAIN The index fell 0.7% at 1,524 points OMAN The index slipped 0.3% to 4,009 points KUWAIT The index declined 2.2% to 6,101 points (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi leads Gulf lower after attacks on oil plants

15 Sep 2019

* Saudi falls for a fourth day * Banks and petrochemicals hit hard in Saudi * Most property shares down in Dubai * Financials drag Qatar, Abu Dhabi * Egypt's 22 of 30 blue chips drop By Shakeel Ahmad Sept 15 Saudi Arabian stocks dropped on Sunday with banking and petrochemical shares taking the biggest hit after attacks on two key Saudi oil plants a day earlier knocked out more than half of Saudi crude output. The drone attacks, which were claimed by Yemen's Houthi group, are likely to push up the oil price by $5-10 per barrel when it opens on Monday. Crude may shoot up to $100 per barrel if Saudi Arabia fails to return to its full oil supply capacity after Saturday's attacks on Aramco oil plants. Saudi's index closed 1.1% lower to fall for a fourth straight session, with Al Rajhi Bank down 1.2% and petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) lower 2.6%. SABIC and other petrochemicals firms announced significant reductions in feedstock supplies. Sunday's decline means the market has erased all its gains for the year and traded at 0.9% loss for 2019. Saudi stocks have been forced on the back foot in recent weeks by expensive valuations, weak oil prices and concerns about the economic outlook. The attacks also weighed on other major Gulf markets which all drifted into red territory. Dubai's index was down 0.6%. Real estate shares were the biggest drag with the emirate's largest listed developer Emaar Properties closing 1% lower. Beaten down real estate firms have long been playing defensive as Dubai property prices have slumped 25-35% since mid-2014 with no respite in sight. The prices are likely to go further down this year and next amid a slowing economy and an oversupply of housing units. Telecoms company Du, which uses Huawei equipment in its 5G network, lost 1.4%. The United States has raised its concerns with Gulf allies over a possible security risk in using Huawei's technology for their 5G mobile infrastructure. But in Qatar, it was mainly financials pushing down the index, which also fell 0.6%. The Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank shed 1.2% while the region's top insurer Qatar Insurance dropped 2.4%. Lenders also pulled the Abu Dhabi index down 0.4%. Market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank slipped 0.7% and 1% respectively. Egypt's blue-chip index was down 0.6% with 22 stocks falling and seven rising. Real estate investment firm Talaat Mostafa Group Holding dropped 2.1%. SAUDI ARABIA The index fell 1.1% to 7,749 points ABU DHABI The index lost 0.4% to 5,074 points DUBAI The index fell 0.6% to 2,870 points QATAR The index was down 0.6% to 10,395 points EGYPT The index was down 0.6% to 15,023 points BAHRAIN The index was down 0.7% at 1,536 points OMAN The index traded flat at 4,021 points KUWAIT The index was down 0.3% to 6,235 points (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks, petchems drag down Saudi, property lifts Dubai

10 Sep 2019

* Saudi Enaya falls as accumulated losses increase * Arriyadh Development, Leejam drop on trading ex-dividend * Dubai Arabtec surges on potential merger * Egypt's blue-chip index rises after inflation data * Banks strong in Qatar By Shakeel Ahmad Sept 10 Saudi Arabian stocks dropped sharply on Tuesday as banking and petrochemical shares weakened, while builder Arabtec Holding posted its sharpest single-day rise in two and half years after announcing a potential merger, helping to lift the Dubai index. Saudi's index was down 1.1%. Al Rajhi Bank dropped 2% and petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries shed 2.8%. Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance lost 4.9% after its accumulated losses reached 40% of its capital. Real estate firm Arriyadh Development and gym network operator Leejam Sports shed 3.3% and 2% respectively as the stocks traded ex-dividend. Tuesday's losses have left the index trading at meagre gains of 1.5% for the year. It jumped as much as 20% in May, led by foreign investors who have been net buyers every month this year as Saudi stocks joined the MSCI and FTSE Russell emerging market indexes. The market remains under pressure with the kingdom's economy at risk of contraction and Middle East funds planning to reduce investment in Saudi Arabia. In Dubai, the index rose 0.4%, with its largest listed developer Emaar Properties gaining 0.6%. Arabtec Holding soared 11.3%, its biggest single-day gain since February 2017. The firm said on Tuesday it had begun a review to explore the possibility of merging its construction business with Abu Dhabi's private rival Trojan Holding. The builder's shares traded at 1.77 dirhams, down from 28.73 dirhams at their mid-2014 peak when property prices began to head downwards. Dubai property prices have tumbled 25-35% since mid-2014, and are expected to decline further this year and next amid a slowing economy and an oversupply of housing units. The Abu Dhabi index was up 0.4% with Aldar properties adding 1.8%. The firm this week said it was launching a residential project on Saadiyat island that would be open to all nationalities. This is the first development on Saadiyat island since April, when Abu Dhabi amended its real estate law to allow all foreigners to own land and property in investment areas on a freehold basis. Qatar's index traded 0.7% higher lifted by gains in financials with Qatar National Bank adding 1.2%. Egypt's blue-chip index closed 0.5% higher after its inflation rate declined to 7.5% in August, the lowest in years as the country approaches the end of International Monetary Fund-backed economic reform programme that during 2017 saw inflation rise to a high of 33%. The inflation data clears the way for further rate cuts when the central bank meets later this month after having delivered a rate cut in August. SAUDI ARABIA The index fell 1.1% to 7,965 points ABU DHABI The index was up 0.4% to 5,096 points DUBAI The index rose 0.4% to 2,892 points QATAR The index was up 0.7% to 10,376 points EGYPT The index was up 0.5% to 14,956 points OMAN The index was up 0.3% to 3,998 points KUWAIT The index edged up 0.1% to 6,424 points Bahrain The market was closed for a public holiday (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi inches up as trade tensions ease, cheaper valuations lift UAE

26 Aug 2019

* Saudi, Abu Dhabi snap 3-day losing streaks * Financials strong in Abu Dhabi * Real estate leads gains in Dubai * Industries Qatar weighs on Qatar * Top lender COMI drags Egypt By Shakeel Ahmad Aug 26 Saudi Arabia's stocks bounced back from earlier losses on Monday with the United States and China seeking to soothe trade tensions, while markets in the United Arab Emirates rose after recent sell-offs made stock valuations more attractive. Beijing called for calm and U.S. President Donald Trump predicted a trade deal between the world's two largest economies after markets fell in response to new tariffs from both countries. Oil prices also rose on the concillatory signs, following losses incurred after both the sides had levelled more tariffs on each other's exports. The Saudi index was up 0.2% after falling in previous three sessions with Banque Saudi Fransi gaining 2.1% and Saudi Electricity adding 2.8%. Abu Dhabi's index rebounded 0.6% after three consecutive days of losses, with Emirates Telecom increasing 0.6% and market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank edging up 0.5%. A Qatari regulator said on Sunday it had fined First Abu Dhabi Bank 200 million Qatari riyals ($55 million) for obstructing an ongoing investigation into suspected market manipulation, a charge the bank later denied. Dubai's index closed 0.5% higher, led by 1% rise in the emirate's blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and 0.6% gain in Dubai Islamic Bank. "The UAE is doing rather well and I attribute that to the fact that both Dubai and Abu Dhabi have lost 6% to 7% this month alone from a benign starting point," said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. "Therefore, valuations are reasonable, especially for companies that have reported healthy second quarter results," Bhandari added. "Investors are adding exposure to high quality companies." However he cautioned that it was necessary to keep a close eye on global factors such as the U.S.-China trade talks, Oil prices and interest rates that are likely to guide short-term market direction. The Qatar index fell 0.3% with the Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank shedding 1% and Industries Qatar dropping 1.4%. Egypt's blue-chip index fell 0.4% with its top lender Commercial International Bank dropping 1.2%. SAUDI ARABIA The index was up 0.2% at 8,258 points ABU DHABI The index rose 0.6% to 4,997 points DUBAI The index gained 0.5% to 2,729 points QATAR The index lost 0.3% to 9,788 points EGYPT The index fell 0.4% to 14,291 points BAHRAIN The index was down 0.2% at 1,531 points OMAN The index was flat at 3,927 points KUWAIT The index rose 0.5% to 6,527 points (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egyptian blue chips surge on inflation beat, robust earnings

08 Aug 2019

* Egypt's blue chips see strongest day in six months * SODIC surges on strong Q2 results * EFG Hermes rises on higher Q2 profit * Saudi Investment Bank plunges after swinging to Q2 loss * Air Arabia climbs on Q2 profit surge By Shakeel Ahmad and Maqsood alam Aug 8 Egyptian blue-chip stocks had their strongest day in nearly six months on Thursday as better-than-expected July inflation data and a host of strong corporate earnings buoyed investors ahead of a three-day religious holiday starting Sunday. Egypt's headline inflation rate fell to its lowest in nearly four years, dropping to 8.7% in July, defying analyst expectations since it followed a fresh round of fuel subsidy cuts that pushed domestic fuel prices up by 16%-30%. "It's great news for the markets because it reinforces hopes of interest rate cuts in August. I think the central bank now has enough room to restart its monetary easing policy going forward," said Allen Sandeep, head of research at Naeem Brokerage. Last month the monetary policy committee kept key interest rates on hold at 15.75% and 16.75% for overnight deposit and lending, respectively. Egypt's unemployment rate also fell to 7.5% in the second quarter of 2019, down from 8.1% in the first quarter. Egypt's blue-chip index rose 2.2%, its biggest single-day gain since February, with Commercial International Bank increasing 1.2%. Investment bank EFG Hermes, which posted a nearly 50% surge in the second-quarter profit, gained 3.5%, while developer SODIC jumped 7.7% after its profit for the same period rose 8.6% and revenue almost doubled. Saudi Arabia's index further gained 0.8% after snapping a five-day losing streak in the last session. Banks led the gains with Riyad Bank adding 3.5% and Saudi British Bank leaping 4.8%. Capping the gains was Saudi Investment Bank which plunged as much as 9.1% to its biggest intraday fall in over a decade before closing down 6.2%, after it swung to a second-quarter loss. Dubai's index closed 0.2% higher with Emaar Properties gaining 1.9% and Air Arabia climbing 3.5% after the budget airline posted a 75% jump in its second-quarter profit. In Abu Dhabi the index, which on Wednesday ended six days of losses, fell back 0.4%. Emirates Telecommunications Group slipped 0.9% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank dropped 1.6%. Qatar's index was also down 0.6%. Banks were biggest drag on the index with Commercial Bank dropping 3.6%, while Qatar Gas Transport traded 3.5% lower. Markets will remain shut for much of next week on account of Eid holiday that begins on Sunday and lasts for a week in Saudi Arabia and at least three days in other Gulf countries. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 0.8% to 8,550 points ABU DHABI The index fell 0.4% to 5,097 points DUBAI The index was up 0.2% to 2,838 points QATAR The index lost 0.6% to 9,835 points EGYPT The index rose 2.2% to 14,180 points BAHRAIN The index was flat at 1,544 points OMAN The index gained 0.6% to 3,862 points KUWAIT The index was down 0.4% at 6,719 points (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad and Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru Additional reporting by Nadine Awadalla Editing by Frances Kerry)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets bounce back as trade war simmers down

07 Aug 2019

* Saudi snaps five-day losing streak * United Cooperative Assurance leaps on strong Q2 results * Gulf General Insurance surges after swinging to Q2 profit * Qatar, Abu Dhabi end six days of losses By Shakeel Ahmad and Maqsood alam Aug 7 Gulf stocks rebounded from their recent losses on Tuesday as markets' renewed fears about an escalating global trade war eased, with Beijing stepping in to stabilise the yuan and Washington dismissing fears of a lengthy trade war with China. The recovery was led by financial shares. Abu Dhabi and Qatar's share indexes had suffered six days of straight losses each, while Saudi Arabia and Dubai's bourses retreated in the previous five and four consecutive sessions, respectively, on fears over the trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies. Saudi's index rose 1.1% with Riyad Bank increasing 4.4% and Al Rajhi Bank gaining 1.1%. Some robust earnings from insurers added to the index gains. United Cooperative Assurance jumped 6% after its pre-zakat second-quarter profit more than doubled, while Gulf General Insurance, which swung to profit for the same period, surged 7.9%. Dubai's index was up 1.2% as Dubai Islamic Bank advanced 2% and Emirates NBD traded 1.8% up. Qatar’s index also rose 1.2%. Qatar Islamic Bank increased 1.7% while Qatar Gas Transport closed 4.1% higher. In Abu Dhabi, the index gained 0.7% with First Abu Dhabi Bank edging up 0.5% and Emirates Telecommunications Group climbing 2%. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index moved 1.7% higher. Egypt Kuwait Holding leapt 6.9%. On Tuesday, it obtained a regulatory nod for land allocations concerning agricultural projects which would provide raw materials to its planned compressed wood factory. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 1.1% to 8,483 points ABU DHABI The index was up 0.7% at 5,119 points DUBAI The index was up 1.2% to 2,831 points QATAR The index rose 1.2% to 9,898 points EGYPT The index rose 1.7% to 13,881 points BAHRAIN The index was down 0.1% at 1,544 points OMAN The index gained 0.9% to 3,839 points KUWAIT The index was up 0.6% at 6,744 points (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad and Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Trade war rattles Gulf stocks, Qatar slips to worst day in two years

05 Aug 2019

* Banks are down across Gulf * Banque Saudi Fransi falls on lower Q2 profit * Walaa Cooperative slumps on Q2 loss * Gulf International Services sinks on H1 profit drop * Emaar Properties slips on weak Q2 earnings By Shakeel Ahmad and Maqsood alam Aug 5 Gulf stock markets tumbled on Monday and Qatar suffered its biggest single-day loss as a new war of trade between the United States and China drove investors towards safer assets. Investors are also cashing in their positions ahead of a religious holiday starting from Sunday. U.S. President Donald Trump last week threatened to impose a 10% tariff on remaining $300 billion worth of Chinese imports and China said it would retaliate, adding to the woes of a global economy already showing signs of slowing down. The move, which could limit crude demand, caused oil prices to fall, handing yet another reason for oil-reliant Middle East markets to worry. "China’s retaliation by way of halting some US imports & letting the currency weaken against the dollar is impacting markets worldwide. MENA equities tend to correlate more with Global markets during extreme movements," said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. "For the Middle East, tumbling crude oil prices is yet another negative." "Not surprising that traders are taking money off table before going into an extended break for the Eid holidays," Bhandari added. The Saudi Arabian index which was also hit by disappointment over some corporate earnings, fell 1.1% with all its banking shares falling. Banque Saudi Fransi shed 3.6% after posting a 4.4% decline in second-quarter profit, citing higher provision for zakat, an Islamic tax in Saudi Arabia. The insurer Walaa Cooperative Insurance slid 6.1% after swinging to a pre-zakat loss in the second quarter. Travel company, Seera Group Holding , which posted a 35.9% slump in profit for the same period, fell 2.7%. Qatar's index plunged 4.2% to its biggest single-day loss since June 5, 2017, wiping out gains for the year in its fifth straight session of losses. Blue-chip stocks hurt the index the most with Qatar National Bank slumping 6%, while petrochemical maker Industries Qatar raced 5.8% lower. Gulf International Services sank 9.7% after the drilling rig provider posted a nearly 15% decline in first-half profit In Dubai, the index fell 2% with property and financial stocks weighing heavily on the index. Dubai Islamic Bank slipped 2.1% and Emaar Properties, dropped 3.3%. Emaar Properties reported a 7.4% decrease in second-quarter profit to 1.37 billion dirhams ($373 million), missing an EFG Hermes forecast of AED 1.55 billion dirhams Dubai prime residential property prices fell 1.9% in the first half of the year due to the market being oversupplied, Reuters reported on Monday citing real estate company Savills. The Middle East financial hub's real estate market has steadily contracted since mid-2014 as foreign investor interest cooled. In Abu Dhabi, the index was down 1.9%. Market heavyweight lender First Abu Dhabi Bank dropped 2.2%, while Emirates Telecommunications Group lost 2.6%. Egypt's blue-chip index edged 0.1% lower with Qalaa Holdings losing 4.3%. SAUDI ARABIA The index was down 1.1% to 8,465 points ABU DHABI The index lost 1.9% to 5,083 points DUBAI The index fell 2% to 2,800 points QATAR The index plunged 4.2% to 9,925 points EGYPT The index slipped 0.1% to 13,599 points BAHRAIN The index fell 0.3% 1,545 points OMAN The index was up 0.2% at 3,789 points KUWAIT The index was flat at 6,727 points (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf shares dip as Fed hints no further rate cuts

01 Aug 2019

* Most Saudi banks fall, Samba plunges to lowest in eight months * Abu Dhabi suffers biggest one-day loss in over two months * Lender COMI boosts Egyptian market By Shakeel Ahmad and Maqsood alam Aug 1 Major Gulf stock markets fell on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates by 25 basis points but, significantly, signalled the move may not mark the beginning of a long easing cycle. Markets had been looking for the Fed to signal more cuts were coming. Central banks in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar followed the move, cutting their rates by the same degree. Their currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar and they follow the Fed on interest rate moves. Banking shares were hard hit as the rate cuts are expected to take a toll on their margins. Saudi's index was down 0.8%, with Samba Financial Group slumping 4.3% to its lowest level since Jan. 2, after it became the first lender to report a fall in second-quarter profit, which dived nearly 25% as operating expenses mounted. Al Rajhi Bank, which earlier gained on robust earnings, fell 1.7%. Analysts expect rate cuts to hurt the margins of Saudi banks, which made record profits of around 50 billion riyals ($13.3 bln) in 2018 following several interest hikes over the past few years. Elsewhere Saudi's biggest petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries Co was down 0.9% after earlier this week reporting its lowest quarterly profit since late 2009. In Abu Dhabi, the index dropped 1.7% in its biggest single-day loss since mid-May, dragged down by a 1.8% fall in the market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank, and a 1% fall in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. ADCB earlier this week reported an 11% drop in second-quarter profit in its first combined pro-forma financials after it merged with Union National Bank and Al Hilal Bank earlier this year. Qatar's index was down 1% as the Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank shed 1% and Qatar Islamic Bank lost 2%. Dubai's index was fell 0.6%, with Emirates NBD Bank slipping 0.4%. Property shares dragged the index the most. Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties traded 1.5% lower after surging in recent sessions following a large deal in China. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index defied the downward trend and closed 0.9% higher. Its largest lender Commercial International Bank acted as the biggest boost for the index, rising 2.3%. SAUDI The index was down 0.8% to 8,666 points ARABIA ABU DHABI The index lost 1.7 % to 5,230 points DUBAI The index fell 0.6% to 2,900 points QATAR The index dropped 1% to 10,398 points EGYPT The index rose 0.9% to 13,526 points BAHRAIN The index was up 0.1% to 1,550 points OMAN The index was up 0.4% to 3,777 points KUWAIT The index edged up 0.1% to 6,754 points (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru Editing by David Holmes)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Petchems lead Saudi lower, financials drag down Qatar

31 Jul 2019

* Saudi's Samba falls as it traded ex-dividend * Ataa Educational jumps on first day of trading * Qatar Insurance drops on earnings miss * Egypt's Qalaa plunges on stake dilution in Egyptian Refining By Shakeel Ahmad and Maqsood alam July 31 Saudi stocks dropped on Wednesday as losses in petrochemical shares outweighed earnings-fuelled gains in some banking stocks, while Qatar Insurance pulled the Qatari market down. Saudi's index slipped 0.1%, with petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries Co shedding 1.1% after earlier this week reporting its lowest quarterly profit since late 2009. The kingdom has returned to deficit in the second quarter after posting its first surplus in the first quarter since 2014, as oil revenues fell 5% and non-oil revenues declined 4%. Samba Financial Group fell 1.2% as the lender was trading ex-dividend. But some banks rose in the wake of strong second-quarter earnings. National Commercial Bank gained 0.7% after posting a 24% rise in second-quarter profit, helped by higher fee and commission income and lower expenses. Saudi banks have benefited from higher interest rates and increased demand for loans to support housing and government-related projects. Ataa Educational also surged 10% on its first day of trading. The school network operator offered 12 million shares representing 30% of its share capital at a price of 29 riyals per share. Qatar's index was 0.8% lower, with Qatar Insurance the biggest drag, falling 3.6%. It reported first-half profit of 410 million riyals including 266 million riyals for the first quarter, indicating earnings reached 144 million in the April to June period. EFG Hermes had forecast a profit of 209 million riyals for the second quarter. Petrochemical maker Industries Qatar dropped 1.1% before its earnings report on Thursday. EFG Hermes forecast a 47% plunge in its second-quarter profit. Dubai's index was up 0.2%. Emaar Properties rose 1.7% to its highest since June 14 last year. The developer has climbed in recent sessions after signing a memorandum of understanding for an $11 billion project at Beijing's new airport. Emirates NBD traded 1.7% higher. After the market closed, the lender said it had completed the acquisition of Turkey's fifth largest private bank, Denizbank, in a deal valued at 15.48 billion lira ($2.80 billion). Egypt's blue-chip index closed 0.2% higher with the market heavyweight Commercial International Bank rising 3.2%. Qalaa Holdings however plunged 9.9% after saying its indirect ownership in Egyptian Refining Company had been diluted to 13.14% over a couple of years. Abu Dhabi index fell 0.3%, hurt by a 1.6% drop in Emirates Telecommunications Group. ($1 = 5.5264 liras) SAUDI ARABIA The index was down 0.1% to 8,733 points ABU DHBAI The index lost 0.3% to 5,318 points DUBAI The index rose 0.2% to 2,918 points QATAR The index fell 0.8% to 10,505 points EGYPT The index was up 0.2% to 13,392 points BAHRAIN The index was up 0.1% to 1,548 points OMAN The index was up 0.1% to 3,761 points KUWAIT The index edged up 0.1% to 6,744 points (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad and Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges up on strong earnings, Dubai extends gains

30 Jul 2019

* Saudi's Al Rajhi Bank gains on higher Q2 profit * Yamama Cement jumps after posting Q2 profit * PetroRabigh slumps on swinging to Q2 loss * Qatar First Bank trades at record low By Shakeel Ahmad and Maqsood alam July 30 Saudi Arabian stocks edged up on Tuesday, recovering from the previous session's biggest single-day loss in a month, as strong earnings from two lenders boosted most bank shares. Dubai's bourse consolidated gains after touching nearly a year-high on Monday. The Saudi index was up 0.1%. Al Rajhi Bank gained 1% after it posted a more than 4% rise in second-quarter profit, as revenue from special commissions and investments increased. Riyad Bank gained as much as 2.4% after its profit surged over the same period on a 22.9% jump in operating income, but traded unchanged at the close. Outside banks, Yamama Cement jumped 4.4% after turning profitable in the second quarter on higher sales and lower expenses, while Saudi Ground Services, which posted a higher quarterly profit, rose 2.9%. By contrast PetroRabigh slumped 8.8% as it slipped to a second-quarter loss from a profit a year earlier. Dubai's index rose 1.1%, boosted by real estate and financial stocks. Emaar Properties gained 1.5%. The blue-chip developer has risen in recent sessions after signing a memorandum of understanding concerning an $11 billion project at Beijing's new airport. Dubai Financial Market jumped 5.1% to its highest level since Sept. 16 last year, after higher second-quarter profit triggered a seven-day rally. In Abu Dhabi, the index closed 0.6%. Emirates Telecom Group slipped 1.4% and the United Arab Emirates' biggest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank, edged down 0.5%. Qatar's index slipped 0.1%, primarily driven by a 2% fall in Qatar Islamic Bank. Qatar First Bank plunged 7% to another record low after the company drifted to a first-half loss, having scored a profit in the first quarter. The market received some support from telecommunications firm Ooredoo, which traded 2% up after reporting a higher second-quarter profit. Egypt's blue-chip index was down 0.4%, with El Sewedy Electric dropping 7.9%. SAUDI ARABIA The index was up 0.1% to 8,741 points ABU DHBAI The index lost 0.6% to 5,331 points DUBAI The index rose 1.1% to 2,912 points QATAR The index was down 0.1% to 10,589 points EGYPT The index fell 0.4% to 13,365 points BAHRAIN The index was up 0.7% to 1,546 points OMAN The index was up 0.1% to 3,755 points KUWAIT The index fell 0.5% to 6,735 points (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad and Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru Editing by David Holmes)

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