Mideast Stocks: Positive earnings end Saudi losing streak, COMI weighs on Egypt

Al Rajhi Bank declines as trades ex-dividend

  
A Saudi trader observes the stock market on monitors at Falcom stock exchange agency in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 7, 2018.

A Saudi trader observes the stock market on monitors at Falcom stock exchange agency in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 7, 2018.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Strong corporate earnings helped Saudi Arabia's stock market snap five days of losses, while top lender Commercial International Bank weighed on the Egyptian bourse.

In Saudi Arabia, the index bounced back 0.4%, with Saudi Arabian Mining Company jumping 6.5%, and Sahara International Petrochemical (SIPCHEM) climbing 5.2% after it reported flat quarterly profit of 210.9 million riyals ($56.2 million) beating EFG Hermes' forecast of 188 million.

Jabal Omar Development was up 2.7% after it swung to second quarter profit, which it credited to higher revenue.

However, Al Rajhi Bank declined 2.4% as the stock traded ex-dividend.

In Egypt, the index dipped 0.8%, with Commercial International Bank (COMI) declining 1.1%.

Exchange data on Thursday showed non-Arab foreigners were net sellers of Egyptian stocks.

The market has been on the back foot in the last two sessions after a Reuters poll showed that Egypt's economic growth was expected to slow to 5.5% in the fiscal year that began this month, below the government's target. 

The Qatar index advanced 0.8%, driven by conglomerate Industries Qatar, which rose 2.5%, while Qatar National Bank , the Gulf's largest lender, was up 0.8%.

Abu Dhabi's index added 0.6%, an eighth-day of gains on the back of its banking and telecom shares.

First Abu Dhabi Bank rose 0.5%. The largest lender in the UAE has mostly traded higher after reporting last week a rise in second-quarter profit and proposing to remove a limit on foreign ownership of its shares. 

Emirates Telecommunications Group rose 0.6%. The telecoms operator on Tuesday posted a slightly higher second quarter profit.

Dana Gas added a further 3.8% and Eshraq Investments, which is also considering doing away with a foreign ownership limit on its shares, climbed 3.3%, its third consecutive gain.

In Dubai, the index snapped a three-days winning streak and closed down 0.2%, as financial and telecom sectors slipped.

Emirates NBD shed 0.9%, while Emirates Integrated Telecommunications, where an 8.9% year-on-year decline in mobile subscribers for the second-quarter led to a drop in revenue, fell 1.8%. 

Dubai Islamic Bank shed 0.2%. On Wednesday, research firm Fitch said UAE Islamic banks' asset-quality metrics would remain under pressure, particularly for those with weaker, younger franchises, in 2019. 

But real estate stocks were up, with Emaar Properties continuing to benefit from signing a project agreement in China. The developer traded 0.4% higher in its fourth straight session of gains.

($1 = 3.7503 riyals)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff and Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

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