July 25, 2018 / 12:50 PM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks drag down Saudi, Qatar stock markets

DUBAI, July 25 (Reuters) - Banking shares slipped in Saudi Arabia and Qatar on Wednesday as investors digested a mixed bag of results.

Banque Saudi Fransi, which reported lower second quarter earnings on Tuesday, was down 4.1 percent. The lender disclosed a profit of 921 million riyals ($246 million) in the three months to June 30, down from 1.01 billion riyals in the same period of 2017.

National Commercial Bank lost 0.6 percent, even after the kingdom’s largest lender on Tuesday reported a 6.7 percent rise in second-quarter profit to 2.58 billion riyals.

Arab National Bank was down 0.6 percent after the lender announced an 8.3 percent rise in second-quarter net profit to 919.1 million riyals.

The Saudi index slipped 0.1 percent.

Qatar’s benchmark dropped, weighed down by financials and real estate. Qatar Islamic Bank and Qatar International Islamic Bank fell 0.8 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Barwa Real Estate and United Development lost 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent respectively.

The Dubai index rose, with Emaar Properties seeing the highest trading volume and rising 0.8 percent. The property firm on Tuesday provided a project update on its Dubai creek harbour development.

The emirate’s biggest lender Emirates NBD which agreed in May to buy Turkey’s Denizbank, gained 2.4 percent on Wednesday.

“Emirates NBD is seeing action - investors are brushing aside the decline of the Turkish lira and focusing on the strength in core operations as reported last week,” said Vrajesh Bhandari, portfolio manager at Dubai-based Al Mal Capital.

Turkey’s currency has lost 20 percent of its value this year.

National Central Cooling Company, also known as Tabreed, gained 1.6 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, where the index rose 1.1 percent, First Abu Dhabi Bank climbed 2.6 percent a day after the lender reported a 19 percent year-on-year gain in quarterly profit to 3.1 billion dirhams.

Higher oil prices boosted shares of energy companies on the Abu Dhabi exchange.

Oil prices rose on Wednesday after data showed U.S. crude inventories fell more than expected, easing worries about oversupply that have dragged on markets in recent weeks.

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) jumped 4.2 percent, while Sharjah-based Dana Gas gained 0.9 percent.


* The index was down 0.1 percent to 8,400 points.


* The index rose 0.7 percent to 2,945 points.


* The index rose 1.1 percent to 4,830 points.


* The index was little changed at 9,614 points.


* The index was down 0.2 percent at 5,355 points.


* The index fell 0.4 percent to 1,363 points.


* The index was flat at 4,405 points.


* The index dropped 1.9 percent to 15,186 points. ($1 = 3.7503 riyals) (Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh Editing by Susan Fenton)

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