DUBAI, April 17 Two Saudi Arabian banks
outperformed in early trading on Monday after reporting their
first-quarter earnings, while shares in Abu Dhabi real estate
firm Eshraq were boosted by a plan to tie up with state fund
Shares in the second largest Saudi lender by assets, Al
Rajhi Bank, rose 0.8 percent after it reported a net
profit of 2.22 billion riyals ($589 million), up 10.1 percent
from the prior-year period and in line with analysts' average
forecast of 2.16 billion riyals.
The Islamic bank had dropped 2.3 percent on Sunday on news
that it was among Saudi companies being sued by U.S. insurers
over the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Mid-sized Bank Aljazira climbed 1.7 percent after
its first-quarter earnings came in ahead of expectations. The
bank made a net profit of 216 million riyals; NCB Capital had
expected 184 million riyals and EFG Hermes 165 million riyals.
Profit plunged 43.3 percent from a year earlier, but the
bank said this was because of a 209 million riyal special gain
from a land sale in the year-ago period.
The Saudi index was up 0.1 percent.
In Abu Dhabi, Eshraq Properties, whose shares came
under pressure last week on news that the emirate's property
prices were softening, climbed 2.7 percent after Abu Dhabi
government fund Mubadala said it was considering
forming a venture with the loss-making real estate developer.
This would involve developing land in Abu Dhabi owned by
Mubadala on Al Maryah Island, where a new financial free zone is
located, and by Eshraq on Al Reem Island.
Aldar Properties, which had also been trading
lower in recent days, rebounded 0.5 percent, helping carry the
Abu Dhabi index 0.6 percent higher.
In Dubai, loss-making builder Arabtec rose 2.5
percent after it hired a new chief financial officer, Peter
Pollard, who will oversee its recapitalisation programme. At a
shareholder meeting on Tuesday, Arabtec will seek investor
approval for a 1.5 billion dirham ($408 million) rights issue.
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia and