|29 April, 2019

Mideast Stocks: Profit-taking hits UAE markets, Saudi inches up

Saudi British Bank hits 4-year high on Q1 results

Image used for illustrative purpose. Traders monitor stock information at Dubai Financial Market, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 5, 2017.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Traders monitor stock information at Dubai Financial Market, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 5, 2017.

REUTERS/Stringer

Abu Dhabi's stock market slid on Monday, affected by profit-taking and a sell-off in its financial shares, while Saudi Arabia was the only major Gulf market to rise.

The Abu Dhabi index lost 0.9 percent in its fourth straight day of declines, with energy firm Dana Gas dropping 4.1 percent and the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates, First Abu Dhabi Bank, losing 1.2 percent.

Dana's stock traded ex-dividend on Thursday and has been sliding since. First Abu Dhabi Bank posted a 3.6 percent rise in first-quarter 2019 profit.

"UAE markets have done well year to date and the recent weakness can be attributed to investors taking profits after the stocks go ex-dividend," Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital said.

"Banks have been the driver of this performance – both FAB (First Abu Dhabi) and Emirates have delivered total returns of 40 percent so far in 2019. No surprise that they are consolidating here," Bhandari added.

Dubai's index slipped 0.6 percent, partly due to a 7.2 percent decline in Islamic Arab Insurance Co and a 4.3 percent slide in Dubai Islamic Insurance And Reinsurance. Shareholders of both companies elected against a dividend distribution for 2018.

Dubai Financial Market fell 2.7 percent after its first-quarter net profit nearly halved.

The weakness in major Gulf markets comes amid a slump in oil prices after U.S. President Donald Trump demanded that producer club OPEC raise output to soften the impact of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

"The concerns of the implications of the embargo of U.S. against Iran oil exports is weighing on the UAE market," Tariq Qaqish, MD, Asset Management Division, Mena Corp Financial Services said.

Saudi Arabia's index inched up 0.1 percent, with Saudi British Bank 1060.SE adding 1.6 percent to touch its highest level in four years after reporting strong first-quarter results.

Al Moammar Information Systems jumped 8.6 percent to lead the index's gainers. Last week, the company was the first information technology solutions provider to list on Tadawul.

Qatar's blue-chip index declined 0.5 percent. Banking firms Qatar First Bank and Qatar Islamic Bank lost 2.3 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.

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

(Reporting by Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter) ((abinaya.vijayaraghavan@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S.+1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 2733; Reuters Messaging: abinaya.vijayaraghavan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

More From Markets