Dubai stock market closed higher on Wednesday, outperforming the Gulf region, while Qatari stocks retreated amid volatile energy prices.
Dubai's benchmark index snapped its losing streak since Friday, climbing 1.4% and marking its best day since September. The index was lifted by gains in almost all constituent stocks. Emirates NBD, Dubai's biggest lender, rose 2.3% and toll operator Salik gained 2.4%. Dubai Financial Market Co, the operator of Dubai stock exchange, rose 3.6% after it reported a 41.7% surge in FY net profit. Mashreq Bank added 3%, after the lender proposed annual cash dividend of AED 9 per share, up 800% from last year.
In Abu Dhabi, the index ended 0.3% higher, extending its rally into the third consecutive session, helped by a 1.5% gain in the country's biggest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the UAE's third-largest lender, surged 3.3% on its best day since early November, after achieving 23% growth in both annual and fourth-quarter net profit. The lender also raised its annual dividend by 48.6% to AED 0.55 per share.
Qatari stock index dropped 1.2%, extending its losses for the third consecutive session with most of its constituent stocks in negative territory. Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank continued its slide since Monday, falling 2.9%, and Industries Qatar dropping 1.8%.
The Qatari stock market remained under pressure due to the sharp decrease in natural gas prices during the last few weeks, said Daniel Takieddine, CEO MENA at BDSwiss. "However, it could find some support if energy markets recover in a more consistent manner."
The benchmark index in Saudi Arabia lost 0.1%, weighed down by a 1.1% loss in Al Rajhi Bank and a 0.2% fall in oil giant Saudi Aramco. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has revised its 2023 growth forecast for Saudi Arabia to 2.6%, 1.1 percentage points below its October projection.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index declined 0.2%, dragged down by 4.1% loss in E-Finance, 4.8% fall in Talaat Mostafa. Telecom Egypt and EFG Hermes declined 3.3% and 2.4%, respectively.
- SAUDI ARABIA fell 0.1% to 10,784
- QATAR lost 1.2% to 10,800
- EGYPT fell 0.2% to 16,408
- BAHRAIN lost 0.4% at 1,921
- OMAN added 0.1% to 4,710
- KUWAIT rose 0.6% to 8,130
- ABU DHABI added 0.3% to 9,844
- DUBAI rose 1.4% to 3,348
(Reporting by Md Manzer Hussain; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)