MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS
Banking shares boosted Saudi Arabia’s stock market yesterday while the majority of other Gulf markets sagged on uninspiring quarterly results. Egypt recovered sightly, but investors remain anxious over dollar shortage woes. The Saudi stock market index gained 1.5 percent, its fifth consecutive session of gains as all 12 of the listed lenders advanced. Bank Aljazira was the top performer amongst its peers, jumping 6.5 percent. National Commercial Bank, the second largest by market value, gained 4.6 percent.
The banking sector has been the backbone of the stock market’s recovery since the kingdom successfully conducted the largest emerging market international bond sale last week. “The sector’s third-quarter earnings were generally weak but also broadly in line with expectations, but the bond sale coupled with more stable oil prices are giving investors the necessary jolt to return to markets,” said Muhammed Shabbir, an independent investment adviser.
Shabbir added that trading volumes have to continue rising for the rally to sustain. The petrochemical sub-index also firmed as Brent crude futures held over $51.50 a barrel. Saudi Basic Industries rose 1.5 percent.
In Abu Dhabi, the index lost 0.6 percent as Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) fell 0.5 percent after the lender reported nearly flat thirdquarter net profit on Monday. Profit came in at 508.9 million dirhams ($139 million), up 1.1 percent from a year ago; EFG Hermes had forecast 494.5 million dirhams.
ADIB booked credit provisions and impairment charges totalling 267.7 million dirhams in the third quarter, compared to 193.0 million dirhams in the year-ago period.
Peer First Gulf Bank, which is due to announce earnings today, dropped 3.2 percent, its fourth session of declines. In Dubai, the main stock index fell 0.7 percent, hit by a 3.0-percent fall for Mashreqbank, which had reported a decline in net profit earlier this week. Dubai Islamic Bank fell 0.3 percent, after reporting a 9.9 percent decline in net profit on Monday. Profit-taking on recent price gains dragged amusement park builder DXB Entertainments 1.8 percent lower. Its shares have actively trading this month ahead of the opening of its theme parks on Oct. 31. In Doha, the index of the 20 most valuable shares closed down 0.02 percent in thin trade with losers outnumbering gainers 13-to-5. Commodities producer Industries Qatar , extended its losses for a second day and fell 0.1 percent. On Monday the company reported a 28.9 percent drop in third-quarter net income. Qatar International Islamic Bank closed flat after reporting a 2.2 percent rise in third-quarter net profit to 223.3 million riyals ($61.3 million); QNB Financial Services had forecast 221.8 million riyals.