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MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets fall across region, NCB earnings hit Saudi
October 16, 2016 / 1:26 PM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets fall across region, NCB earnings hit Saudi

* Saudi’s National Commercial Bank misses Q3 estimates

* Latest in a string of weak Saudi bank earnings

* BUPA Arabia falls after Q3 profit drop

* National Bank of Oman falls on earnings report

* Orange Egypt jumps after deal to obtain 4G licence

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, Oct 16 (Reuters) - The performance of banking shares weighed on Saudi Arabia’s market index on Sunday after the largest listed bank reported profits below analysts’ expectations, while indexes for other markets in the region also fell.

Riyadh’s index fell 1.1 percent as National Commercial Bank (NCB) tumbled 5.6 percent after reporting a third-quarter net profit of 1.96 billion riyals ($523 million), down 1.6 percent from the same period of 2015. Three analysts had on average forecast a quarterly profit of 2.31 billion riyals.

NCB, like most other Saudi banks that have already reported quarterly results, cited higher costs, including a rise in impairments on financings and investments. The bank is a key lender to Saudi Arabia’s troubled construction sector.

Just over half of the country’s listed banks have now reported third-quarter results, with earnings generally flat or lower and the sector index was down 1.6 percent on Sunday.

Weak earnings at some mid-sized companies in other sectors also hit share prices, with medical insurer BUPA Arabia retreating 4.7 percent after posting an 8.9 percent drop in its third-quarter net income.

In Muscat National Bank of Oman lost 2.5 percent after it posted a 15.2 percent fall in its third-quarter net profit, missing analysts’ forecasts. The general market index eased 0.2 percent.

Dubai’s market index closed down 1 percent at 3,302 points, its lowest finish in 16 weeks. With no major companies posting results shares in small and mid-sized companies were the main movers, including builder Drake & Scull which retreated by 3.7 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, the index fell by 0.7 percent as shares in index heavyweight Etisalat dropped 0.8 percent. Qatar’s index of the 20 most valuable companies fell 0.2 percent with roughly two-thirds of shares declining; Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan lost 1.1 percent.

Egypt’s index slipped 0.9 percent in a broad-based decline, with Ezz Steel losing 3.5 percent.

But telecoms firm Orange Egypt rose by its 10 percent daily limit after the company signed a 4G mobile broadband licensing deal with the government, paying $484 million and obtained 10 megahertz of radio frequency spectrum instead of the 7.5 initially on offer.

The head of Egypt’s telecommunications regulator said Orange had also acquired a licence to offer fixed-line services for a further $11 million.

SUNDAY‘S HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index fell 1.1 percent to 5,633 points.

DUBAI

* The index dropped 1 percent to 3,302 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index lost 0.7 percent to 4,316 points.

EGYPT

* The index slipped 0.9 percent to 8,432 points.

QATAR

* The index edged down 0.2 percent to 10,368 points.

KUWAIT

* The index dropped 0.4 percent to 5,309 points.

OMAN

* The index edged down 0.2 percent to 5,651 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index fell 0.3 percent to 1,141 points.

Editing by Andrew Torchia, Greg Mahlich

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