MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS
Saudi Arabian banking shares rose yesterday after a major bank posted earnings in line with analysts’ estimates, while other regional stock markets retreated in line with global shares.
Riyadh’s index rose 0.7 percent as all but one of the 12 listed banks advanced. Banque Saudi Fransi, the second major Saudi lender to report third-quarter earnings, gained 2.8 percent after posting net profit of 1.01 billion riyals ($269 million), a 1.0 percent drop from a year ago but in line with analysts’ average expectation of 1.04 billion riyals. The bank cited higher expenses and impairment charges.
Saudi Fransi’s results reassured the sector. Riyad Bank had dropped 2.1 percent on Tuesday after it reported an 18.9 percent slide in third-quarter profit. Riyad closed up 0.5 percent yesterday.
Telecoms company Zain Saudi climbed 3.5 percent after it signed a letter of intent with a unit of utility Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) to use SEC’s fibre optic network, conduct mutual marketing of products and services, and obtain new locations for telecommunications towers.
Last week, the government said it would provide telecommunications operators with “unified licenses” allowing them to offer a full range of services. Analysts said that could help Zain Saudi compete against market leader Saudi Telecom down 1.4 percent.
The sombre mood in global markets hit Dubai’s index , which retreated 1.1 percent. Drake & Scull, which had risen over the last three days, fell 1.4 percent.
Shares in the builder are still up 9.9 percent since it announced the replacement of its chief executive this week. Abu Dhabi’s index fell 0.2 percent, with large-cap shares the main drag. Aldar Properties fell 0.8 percent and telecommunications giant Etisalat lost 0.5 percent.
But Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) soared 10.3 percent. Bankers said it planned yesterday to tap a bond issue that it completed in June to raise an additional sum of at least $500 million. In Qatar, the main index edged down 0.3 percent with Qatar National Bank, which earlier this week reported a 10.2 percent rise in thirdquarter net profit, pulling back 0.2 percent.
Egypt’s index of the 30 most valuable shares fell 0.6 percent, taking its losses since the start of the week to 2.2 percent. The largest lender, Commercial International Bank , fell 2.4 percent. But investment firm Qalaa Holdings, which had fallen for several days since it announced a wider quarterly net loss, rebounded 5.7 percent. Bahrain’s bourse was closed for a public holiday. — Reuters