|17 January, 2019

Mideast Stocks: Blue chips lift Dubai, rest of Gulf mixed

The Dubai stock market rose in early trading on Thursday, helped by its blue-chip stocks

An investor uses his mobile phone at the Dubai Financial Market.

An investor uses his mobile phone at the Dubai Financial Market.

REUTERS/Mosab Omar

The Dubai stock market rose in early trading on Thursday, helped by its blue-chip stocks, while other major Middle Eastern markets were mixed after corporate earnings announcements.

In Dubai, the index added 0.4 percent, boosted by its blue chips Emaar Properties and Emirates NBD which rose 1 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Emirates NBD, Dubai's largest bank, reported a 10 percent gain in its fourth-quarter net profit as loan growth and improved margins offset lower income from investment securities and higher expenses.

Ajman Bank jumped 9.3 percent after its full-year profit rose 28 percent to 170 million dirhams.

DAMAC Properties declined 2.4 percent, hitting a lifetime low after eight straight sessions of losses. BofA Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock to 'underperform' from 'neutral' as Dubai financial markets continue to face downward pressure, largely coming from real estate companies.

DXB Entertainment increased 2 percent. The firm postponed its board meeting citing "unforeseen events".

Saudi Arabia's main index fell 0.2 percent, in part due to profit-taking, with financial shares weighing on it.

National Commercial Bank lost 0.6 percent and Samba Financial Group decreased 0.8 percent despite posting a 10 percent rise in its 2018 net profit, in line with analysts' forecasts.

But Aldrees Petroleum and Transport jumped 5.7 percent after its fourth-quarter profit rose and it proposed a cash dividend of 1 riyal per share.

The Qatar index fell 0.7 percent, pulled down by a 2 percent decline in Qatar National Bank as investors booked profits after the bank on Tuesday said its full-year net profit rose 5 percent to 13.8 billion riyals.

The Gulf state's largest sharia-compliant lender by assets, Qatar Islamic Bank slid 0.3 percent despite reporting a 19 percent hike in its fourth-quarter net profit.

Abu Dhabi's index was flat, with Dana Gas shedding 2.5 percent. Dana said its board approved a revised business plan for 2019 with updated oil price assumptions. The company did not divulge details of the plan.

(Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru Editing by Keith Weir) ((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))

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