Posted on July 20, 2017

Banking stocks boosted Qatar's equities market on Wednesday, with some share prices approaching levels last reached before the country's diplomatic crisis erupted in early June, while other bourses in the region were mostly quiet. 

The Qatar index advanced by 1.2 percent to 9,502 points, its highest finish since Saudi Arabia and other Arab states cut diplomatic and transport links with Doha on June 5. Wednesday's gain left the index only 4.3 percent below its pre-crisis close. It has been as much as 13 percent lower early this month. 

Qatar National Bank (QNB), the largest lender, jumped by 4.4 percent to 143 riyals. It closed at 145.30 riyals on June 4. Second-quarter earnings announced by QNB and other Qatari banks in recent days have suggested that the economic impact of the sanctions on Qatari lenders so far has been minor in terms of the drain on their deposits and damage to bottom lines. Qatar Islamic Bank , which analysts say is one of the most exposed to withdrawals because of the diplomatic crisis, rose 1.4 percent. Late on Tuesday it reported a 10 percent rise in first-half net profit and a 2 percent increase in deposits in the six months to June 30. 

Qatar International Islamic Bank added 1.4 percent. Commercial Bank of Qatar , however, edged down 0.3 percent after reporting a 58.4 percent slump in second-quarter net profit to 88.4 million riyals ($24.3 million). The average analysts' forceast was 118.3 million riyals. The profit decline, attributed 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 a few quarters. Among other Qatari stocks, the most heavily traded, Vodafone Qatar , climbed 2.8 percent after saying that service on its 2G and 3G networks had been restored after disruption because of a technical problem this week. 

The Dubai index rose in early trade but closed only 0.1 percent higher. Blue-chip Emaar Properties gained 1 percent while rival DAMAC , which plunged by 9 percent on Tuesday because of profit-taking, fell by a further 1.7 percent. Emirates NBD , Dubai's largest lender, gained 0.9 percent after posting a 6 percent rise in second-quarter net profit to 2.02 billion dirhams ($550 million), at the high end of analysts' forecasts. Trade in the tightly held stock was very thin. A 0.8 percent rise for telecoms company Etisalat boosted the Abu Dhabi index by 0.5 percent. 

The Saudi index was down 0.4 percent. Al Rajhi Bank , which went ex-dividend on Wednesday, slipped 1.5 percent and blue-chip petrochemicals company Saudi Basic Industries lost 1.2 percent. Alinma Bank , however, rose by 2.9 percent after reporting second-quarter net profit of 488 million riyals ($130 million), against 409 million riyals a year earlier. The average analysts' forecast was 417 million riyals. 

Egypt's index slipped by 0.1 percent but Pioneers Holding gained 2.5 percent in unusually heavy trade after saying it would list its Rooya Real Estate subsidiary on the stock market in the second half of its financial year. 

HIGHLIGHTS 

  • SAUDI ARABIA : The index fell 0.4 percent to 7,230 points. 
  • DUBAI: The index edged up 0.1 percent to 3,582 points. 
  • ABU DHABI: The index climbed 0.5 percent to 4,594 points. 
  • QATAR: The index gained 1.2 percent to 9,502 points. 
  • EGYPT: The index edged down 0.1 percent to 13,707 points. 
  • KUWAIT: The index fell 0.3 percent to 6,794 points. 
  • BAHRAIN: The index rose 0.3 percent to 1,319 points. 
  • OMAN: The index dropped 0.4 percent to 5,043 points. 

source: Reuters

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