Mideast Stocks: Lender FAB buoys Abu Dhabi as major Gulf markets rise

In Abu Dhabi, the index advanced 1.1%, buoyed by a 1.5% gain in First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 3.5% jump in Aldar Properties

  

Major stock markets in the Gulf traded higher on Wednesday, with the Abu Dhabi index leading the gains, boosted by top lender First Abu Dhabi Bank.

In Abu Dhabi, the index advanced 1.1%, buoyed by a 1.5% gain in First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and a 3.5% jump in Aldar Properties.

FAB, the United Arab Emirates' largest lender, posted a net profit of 10.6 billion dirhams ($2.89 billion) in the year ended Dec. 31, down from 12.5 billion dirhams in the same period a year earlier. 

The net profit, however, came in better than analysts' average forecast of 9.36 billion dirhams, according to Refinitiv data.

Dubai's main share index gained 1.1%, with sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank rising 2.2%, while Emirates NBD traded 1.7% higher after the lender posted its full-year numbers.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index added 0.1%, bolstered by a 0.6% increase in Al Rajhi Bank.

The kingdom's economy will grow 2.6% this year, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday, after the economy of the world's top oil exporter shrank last year due to low oil prices and the coronavirus crisis. 

Saudi Arabia itself has estimated its economy could swing back to growth of 3.2% this year after a 3.7% contraction in 2020.

In Qatar, the index edged up 0.1%, helped by a 1.4%gain in Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's biggest lender by assets.

The index's gains, however, were capped by a 1.6% decline in Commercial Bank, which is scheduled to report its 2020 results.

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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