April 28, 2019 / 8:42 AM / in 3 months

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia up on banks, other Gulf shares lower

DUBAI, April 28 (Reuters) - Stocks in Saudi Arabia gained on Sunday after lenders such as Riyad Bank rose due to strong earnings, while markets across the rest of the Gulf region traded lower.

Saudi stocks were up 0.23 percent, boosted by Riyad Bank, which added 2 percent, while Al Rajhi Bank gained 0.1 percent. Both banks posted a jump in first-quarter net profits last week.

However, Samba Financial Group was down 1.42 percent after last week it said its profits fell 7.4 percent year-on-year, missing analyst estimates.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) was up 0.7 percent despite reporting a 38 percent drop in first-quarter net profits, below analyst expectations.

Sabic has seen some selling this month after Saudi oil giant Aramco agreed to buy a 70 percent stake in it from the Public Investment Fund at a slight discount to the market rate in March.

Dubai’s stock index was flat with Dubai Islamic Bank up 0.4 percent and Air Arabia down 1.94 percent.

Abu Dhabi stocks were 0.23 percent lower, weighed down by First Abu Dhabi Bank, which fell 0.4 percent.

Qatar’s stock exchange was down 0.49 percent. Qatar National Bank lost 0.44 percent, and Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding dropped 2.3 percent on falling first-quarter profits.

Kuwaiti stocks dipped 1.2 percent. National Bank of Kuwait was down 0.97 percent, while other banks also traded lower. (Reporting by Nafisa Eltahir; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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