Abu Dhabi, Dubai stocks pulled down by banks; Saudi cools

Share price declines among leading banks in the United Arab Emirates after disappointing quarterly earnings reports pulled down stock markets there on Thursday, while Saudi shares inched down.

Abu Dhabi’s index lost 1.3 percent. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank dropped 5.0 percent after it reported first-quarter net profit of 1.02 billion dirhams ($277.7 million), missing analysts’ forecasts. It attributed the 18.2 percent fall to a dip in income from core business and increased bad loan provisions.

“Tight liquidity in the market is escalating competition and pushing deposit costs higher,” said a note by UBS Securities.

First Gulf Bank made a net profit of 1.33 billion dirhams, down 6 percent as income from fees and commissions slipped; two analysts polled by Reuters had forecast 1.27 billion dirhams and 1.51 billion dirhams. Shares in the lender fell 1.9 percent.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi edged down 0.3 percent after reporting a 10.7 percent fall in net profit to 1.27 billion dirhams; analysts had forecast 1.28 billion and 1.45 billion.

In Dubai, the stock index pulled back 1.4 percent with Dubai Islamic Bank dropping 3.2 percent. On Wednesday it had lost 3.6 percent after posting a 7.2 percent increase in first-quarter profit to 875.3 million dirhams; EFG Hermes had forecast 938 million.

Other shares also fell as investors booked profits in stocks which had outperformed this week after posting better-than- expected earnings. Emaar Malls dropped 3.7 percent.

In Riyadh, the index edged down 0.1 percent. It rose strongly earlier in the week after the announcement by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of economic reforms designed to free the kingdom from its dependence on petrodollars.

Builder Jabal Omar Development fell 2.7 percent after reporting a quarterly net loss of 43.99 million riyals ($11.7 million) compared with a 65.05 million riyal profit a year earlier. It cited a higher debt burden and lower sales of residential units.

In Qatar, telecommunications operator Ooredoo rose 0.8 percent after it reported a 75 percent leap in first-quarter net profit to 879 million riyals ($241.4 million), driven by foreign exchange gains. Analysts at EFG Hermes and SICO Bahrain had forecast 452.5 million riyals and 487 million riyals.

Qatar’s stock index edged down 0.1 percent.

Source: Reuters