|18 July, 2019

Mideast Stocks: Abu Dhabi outperforms thanks to banks, other Gulf markets mixed

Saudi snaps eight-day winning streak

Investors monitor screens displaying stock information at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange June 25, 2014.

Investors monitor screens displaying stock information at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange June 25, 2014.

REUTERS/Stringer

Stocks in the United Arab Emirates surged on Thursday, outperforming most major Gulf markets, boosted by strong earnings at top lenders.

In Abu Dhabi, the index closed 2.7% higher, buoyed by First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), which rose 4% to its highest level since May after posting a 5% rise in second-quarter net profit.

The bank recorded a net profit of 3.2 billion dirhams ($871 million) in the quarter ending June 30, versus 3.06 billion dirhams a year earlier.

Similarly, the Dubai index climbed 1.7%, driven by a 2.7% rise in Emirates NBD after the bank announced an 80% jump in second-quarter earnings.

The bank made a net profit of 4.74 billion dirhams ($1.29 billion) in the three months to June 30, helped by an asset sale and foreign exchange gains. EFG Hermes had expected a net profit of 4.06 billion dirhams. 

The results reinforced signs that top banks in the UAE are managing to withstand strains from a sluggish economy and a property downturn in Dubai.

Emirates NBD said on Wednesday it had received permission to open 20 more branches in Saudi Arabia. 

Egypt's blue-chip index advanced 0.2%, with Cairo Investment and Real Estate Development jumping 6.8%.

Saudi Arabia's main index fell 0.5%, ending eight straight days of gains triggered by EFG Hermes forecasting that profits for the kingdom's financial sector would grow 7.6% in the second quarter. Nine of 11 Saudi banks fell.

Al Rajhi Bank lost 0.7%, while National Commercial Bank was down 0.9%.

Qatar's index dropped over 1% with 17 of 20 stocks declining. Commercial Bank plunged 4.5% and Industries Qatar lost 1.5%.

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Kevin Liffey) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

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