Mideast Stocks: Cement makers stir Saudi stock rally, Dubai slips

Emaar Properties hits 1-month low as trades ex-div

  
Investors look at electronic display boards on the trading floor at the Dubai International Financial Market March. Image for illustrative purposes.

Investors look at electronic display boards on the trading floor at the Dubai International Financial Market March. Image for illustrative purposes.

REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Saudi Arabia's stock market gained on Wednesday, lifted for a second session by a results-driven rally in cement producers, while Dubai's slipped after Emaar Properties traded ex-dividend and its shares hit a one-month low.

Saudi Arabia's index rose 0.6 percent, with Umm Al Qura Cement the top gainer with a 9.9 percent leap after reporting a significant rise in first-quarter net profit.

Most Saudi cement producers gained for the second straight day after strong first-quarter results, driven by higher selling prices and volume.

All 14 cement producers were trading in positive territory, with Southern Province Cement 3050.SE adding 9.8 percent and Northern Region Cement gaining 8.1 percent.

There is a positive view on the cement sector due to expectations of a rise in demand as construction picks up, especially in mega projects, Riyad Capital's Muhammad Faisal Potrik said.

Dubai's index slid 0.6 percent, with Emaar Properties falling 3.3 percent to a one-month low as the stock traded ex-dividend.

Air Arabia slid 2 percent after the budget airline said it is likely to order 100 or more Airbus or Boeing  jets within the next three to four months.

The Abu Dhabi index traded flat, reversing some early losses. ADNOC Distribution, the fuel distribution arm of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), gained 1.2 percent after reporting a 6.6 percent rise in its first-quarter profit.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) closed 1.8 percent lower on its first trading day as a new entity following its three-way merger with Union National Bank and Al Hilal Bank to create the third biggest bank in the UAE.

ADCB touched a 13 year high as of Tuesday's close, ahead of its effective merger date.

"The combined bank will face operational challenges in the beginning, so we prefer to stay on the side until we see a fully operational entity," Tariq Qaqish, MD, Asset Management Division, Mena Corp Financial Services said.

"As medium to long term investors, we would wait and see the outcome of the synergy kicking in," he added.

Qatar's blue-chip index edged up 0.2 percent, helped by Doha Bank and Gulf International Services gaining 2.7 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. The latter, a drilling rig provider, posted higher first-quarter net profit.

Egypt and Bahrain's stock market was closed due to a public holiday.

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

(Reporting by Karina Dsouza in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith) ((Karina.Dsouza@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, outside U.S. +91 80 6749 6373; Reuters Messaging: Reuters Messaging: karina.dsouza@thomsonreuters.com))

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