MIDEAST STOCKS-Region moves little, earnings pull down Qatar

Most Gulf stock markets barely moved in early trade on Thursday, largely ignoring a strong rise in global equities, while Qatar's stock index was pulled lower by weak corporate earnings.

  
DUBAI, July 27 (Reuters) - Most Gulf stock markets barely moved in early trade on Thursday, largely ignoring a strong rise in global equities, while Qatar's stock index was pulled lower by weak corporate earnings.

The Qatari index fell 0.6 percent as Qatar First Bank dropped 2.8 percent to 7.56 riyals, though it came well off an intra-day low of 7.21 riyals.

The bank reported a first-half net loss of 76.7 million riyals ($21.1 million) versus a profit of 16.8 million riyals a year ago. In the first quarter of this year, it made a net loss of 9.6 million riyals.

Ooredoo fell 0.5 percent after reporting a 12 percent drop in second-quarter net profit to 513 million riyals; SICO Bahrain had forecast 642.81 million riyals and EFG Hermes, 529.3 million riyals.

Dubai's index edged down 0.1 percent with Dubai Financial Market , the most heavily traded stock, climbing 1.7 percent.

Abu Dhabi's index edged up 0.1 percent as telecommunications firm Etisalat gained 1.4 percent. It posted a 14.7 percent drop in second-quarter net profit attributable to shareholders as impairments rose, its full financial report showed on Thursday; however, on Wednesday it issued a statement saying its net profit rose 6 percent, without giving any breakdown of the earnings.

The United Arab Emirates' biggest bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank , created this year by a merger of National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank, fell 0.5 percent after reporting a quarterly net profit of 2.56 billion dirhams ($697.5 million).

On a pro-forma basis, the profit was down from 2.68 billion dirhams a year earlier, primarily due to slower business momentum. It was in line with a projection of 2.57 billion dirhams by EFG Hermes.

In Saudi Arabia, the index was flat as Chemanol climbed 1.4 percent in unusually heavy trade after saying second-quarter net profit jumped to 2.6 million riyals ($693,000) from almost zero a year earlier.

But National Medical tumbled 6.1 percent after quarterly profit shrank to 9.5 million riyals from 59.3 million riyals.

(Reporting by Andrew Torchia Editing by Jeremy Gaunt) ((andrew.torchia@thomsonreuters.com; +9715 6681 7277; Reuters Messaging: andrew.torchia.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))





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