Mideast Stocks: Major Gulf markets mixed in early trade, banks weigh on Qatar

In Saudi Arabia, the benchmark index was up 0.2%, with Al Rajhi Bank rising 0.7%


Major Gulf stock markets were mixed in early trade on Tuesday, as a potential downgrade in ratings of Qatari banks by Fitch sent the index lower, while corporate earnings supported Saudi stocks.

Credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings indicated on Monday it could cut the ratings of all banks in Qatar, saying it was concerned over the sector's increasing reliance on external funding and a recent rapid growth in assets. 

The index in Qatar fell 0.4% with banks weighing the most on the index following Fitch's statement.

Gulf's largest lender Qatar National Bank and Commercial Bank, which are among Fitch's potential downgrade list, dropped 1.7% and 1.5%, respectively.

A 7% rise in nine-month profits of Qatar International Islamic Bank could not defy Fitch's stand on the lender as it fell as much as 0.8%. 

In Saudi Arabia, the benchmark index was up 0.2%, with Al Rajhi Bank rising 0.7%.

Saudi Arabian Mining (Ma'aden)  advanced 1.2% a day after it reported a massive jump in quarterly profit which the miner attributed to a higher average realized sales prices of products except the gold. 

Herfy Food Services jumped nearly 10% to be the top percentage gainer on the index as the operator of fast-food restaurants posted about 45% increased in quarterly profit. 

The Abu Dhabi index was flat with Alpha Dhabi Holding declining 1.5% and Emirates Telecommunications Group gaining 0.4% Abu Dhabi flat with AlphaDhabi falling 1.5% and Etisalat gaining 0.4%.

The index in Dubai was down 0.2% as Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company dipped 2.7%.

(Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V) ((Maqsood.Alam@thomsonreuters.com))

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