May 2, 2019 / 1:38 PM / 7 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar hits 3 month high, financials weigh on Abu Dhabi

    * Gulf International at 3-month high on drilling contract
    * United Arab Bank slides after Q1 results 
    * Emaar Properties gains on unit's project
    * Saudi Basic Industries falls on brokerage action

    By Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan
    May 2 (Reuters) - Qatar's stock market closed at a
three-month high on Thursday, buoyed by drilling rig provider
Gulf International Services, while the Abu Dhabi index was
pressured by financial shares. 
    The Qatar index rose 0.8 percent, with Gulf
International Services jumping 10 percent after its
unit was awarded contracts by Qatar Petroleum to provide six
offshore drilling rigs.
    Brokerage firm QNB Financial Services raised its rating on
the stock to 'outperform' from 'accumulate', citing its ability
to secure contracts for six rigs out of a total deal size of
    "Our preliminary sense is a material uplift in earnings from
2020 onward and we consequently raise our earnings estimated by
an average of 28 percent over 2020-2023," QNB said in a note.
    The Abu Dhabi index was down 0.3 percent, with United
Arab Bank sliding 4.2 percent and Abu Dhabi Commercial
Bank (ADCB) losing 0.5 percent.
    United Arab Bank posted a nearly 40 percent drop in its
first-quarter net profit, while ADCB began trading on Wednesday
as a newly formed entity after completing a three-way merger
with Union National Bank and Al Hilal Bank.
    Dubai's index added 0.3 percent, helped by a 2.4
percent rise by Emaar Properties and a 2.9 percent
gain in Dubai Investments.
    Emaar's unit Emaar Development began a 25
billion dirham ($6.81 billion) coastal building project in
Dubai. But the stock fell 4.9 percent as it traded ex-dividend. 
    "I think Emaar Developments will do better than most real
estate developers in Dubai because it has de facto state
backing, which makes it harder for the competition," said Khaled
Abdel Majeed, Managing Partner at MENA Capital.
    The company is facing headwinds from oversupply in its core
Dubai market, Majeed said, adding that the valuation is
reasonable but macro and political challenges are "significant".
    The Saudi Arabian index fell 0.3 percent, with Gulf
Union Cooperative Insurance declining 4.8 percent
after actuaries recommended an increase in its technical
reserves of 27.5 million riyals ($7.33 million). 
    Market heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries dropped
1.3 percent after HSBC cut its target price and rating on the
    Egypt's blue-chip index slid 0.3 percent, as its
biggest stocks Eastern Co and Commercial International
Bank lost 4.2 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively. 
    On Tuesday, Eastern Co posted a drop in its nine-month net
    Kuwait's blue chip index added 1.4 percent, with
Mabanee Company and Burgan Bank gaining 3.9
percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. Mabanee posted a 13
percent rise in its first-quarter profit. 
 SAUDI       The index         fell 0.3 pct to 9,337 points
 ABU DHABI   The index        dropped 0.3 pct to 5,243 points
 DUBAI       The index          was up 0.3 pct to 2,759 points
 QATAR       The index        added 0.8 pct to 10,481 points
 EGYPT       The index          slid 0.3 pct to 14,880 points
 BAHRAIN     The index        added 0.1 pct at 1,435 points
 OMAN        The index        was flat at 3,965 points
 KUWAIT      The index        rose 1.4 pct at 6,126 points
($1 = 3.7502 riyals)

 (Reporting by Karina Dsouza in Bengaluru
Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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