July 22, 2018 / 8:40 AM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks help to lift Saudi index, other Gulf markets down

DUBAI, July 22 (Reuters) - Shares in Saudi Arabian banks advanced on Sunday as investors took positions ahead of results announcements due this week, while other Gulf markets slipped.

Banque Saudi Fransi and Arab National Bank both gained 1.4 percent, while Riyad Bank and Al Rajhi Bank were both up 0.6 percent.

Alinma Bank was one of the first Saudi banks to report earnings, on Thursday posting a 27.3 percent jump in second-quarter net profit to 621 million riyals ($165.6 million). The results were slightly better than the forecasts of two analysts polled by Reuters.

The Saudi index was up 0.4 percent in early trading.

Dubai Investments slipped by 1.5 percent and Union Properties dropped by 3.6 percent as Dubai’s main index dipped by 0.3 percent.

Abu Dhabi National Energy (TAQA) tumbled 6.4 percent, having been one of the standout stocks on the Abu Dhabi bourse this year by virtue of its price more than doubling.

The Abu Dhabi index nudged down by 0.2 percent.

In Qatar, Doha Bank dropped by 3.8 percent after the lender’s second-quarter profit plunged by 75 percent to 89.4 million riyals ($24.6 million).

QNB Financial Services attributed the fall in part to significant loan loss provisions in relation to Doha Bank’s branches in the Gulf outside Qatar. ($1 = 3.7503 riyals) ($1 = 3.6400 Qatar riyals) (Reporting by Tom Arnold Editing by David Goodman)

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