|06 February, 2020

Mideast Stocks: Most major Gulf markets decline; Qatar falls to over 2-month low

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index ticked down 0.2%, as lender Banque Saudi Fransi dropped 5%

Most major gulf stock markets slipped in early trade on Thursday after a slew of poor corporate earnings, with Qatar's index falling the most among regional equities.

The Qatari index dropped 0.7% to a more than two-month low. United Development slumped 10% after reporting a nearly 16% drop in its annual profit.

The Gulf's largest lender Qatar National Bank lost 0.9%.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index ticked down 0.2%, as lender Banque Saudi Fransi dropped 5% to become the top loser on the index after it missed full-year profit estimates.

The lender said annual profit rose to 3.12 billion riyals ($831.69 million) from 1.4 billion riyals a year ago. However, the figure was lower than an average analyst estimate of 3.35 billion riyals, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Oil behemoth Saudi Aramco was 0.3% lower at 33.55 riyals, the lowest since it started trading on Dec. 11.

However, Saudi Cement jumped 4.6% after it proposed a higher dividend of 2 riyals per share for the second half, compared with 1.75 riyals a year ago.

The Abu Dhabi Index edged down 0.1%, with Abu Dhabi Aviation decreasing 9.9% and Emirates Telecommunications Group losing 0.1%.

Dubai's index was flat. Lender Emirates NBD  slipped 1.1%, while Emaar Properties rose 1.3%.

Emaar Properties, commenting on the potential sale of assets to National Central Cooling Co (Tabreed), said it was exploring various financing options in a strategy to streamline business. 

Reuters on Wednesday reported that Tabreed was in advanced talks to buy Emaar Properties' district cooling business. Tabreed was down 1.4%. 

(Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni) ((Maqsood.Alam@thomsonreuters.com;))

More From Equities