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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Bank earnings boost Dubai stocks

Other regional bourses sluggish

Emirates NBD reported second quarter profits on Wednesday, boosting its shares. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Emirates NBD reported second quarter profits on Wednesday, boosting its shares. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Dubai's stock market rose on the back of strong bank earnings in early trade on Wednesday while most of the rest of the region was sluggish.

The Dubai index, which has been technically bullish since rising earlier this week above resistance on its April peak, climbed 0.5 per cent.

Emirates NBD, Dubai's largest lender, gained 1.1 per cent after it posted a 6 per cent rise in second-quarter net profit to 2.02 billion dirhams (US$550 million), at the high end of analysts' forecasts; three analysts had on average forecast 1.88bn dirhams. Trade was very thin as the stock is tightly held.

Dubai Islamic Bank, the United Arab Emirates' largest sharia-compliant lender, rose 0.3 per cent after posting a 14-per cent increase in second-quarter net profit to 1.06bn dirhams; EFG Hermes had projected 979m dirhams and Arqaam Capital, 972m dirhams.

Saudi Arabia's index edged down 0.1 per cent in the first half-hour as Al Rajhi Bank, which went ex-dividend on Wednesday, slipped 1.1 percent.

But Alinma Bank surged 5.4 per cent after reporting that second-quarter net profit came in at 488m riyals ($130 million) versus 409m riyals year ago; analysts surveyed by Reuters had on average predicted 417m riyals.

Qatar's index rose 0.4 per cent as Qatar National Bank , the largest bank, gained 2.9 percent to 140.90 riyals. It has now regained almost all its losses since it closed at 145.30 riyals on June 4, just before other Gulf Arab states imposed sanctions on Qatar.

Second-quarter earnings announced by QNB and other Qatari banks have suggested that so far the economic impact of the sanctions on Qatari lenders has been minor in terms of the drain on their deposits and effect on their bottom lines.

Qatar Islamic Bank, which analysts say is one of the banks most vulnerable to any pull-out of foreign deposits due to the diplomatic crisis, edged up 0.2 per cent. Late on Tuesday it reported a 10-per cent rise in first-half net profit and a 2-per cent rise in deposits from the end of last year.

But Commercial Bank of Qatar dropped 2.0 per cent after reporting a 58.4 per cent slump in second-quarter net profit to 88.4m riyals ($24.3m); analysts had forecast 118.3m riyals on average.

The decline, due to provisions for bad debt, was part of a dismal earnings run that began long before the diplomatic crisis. Chief executive Joseph Abraham said in April that provisions would remain high for the next few quarters.

* Reuters

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