| DUBAI, July 11
DUBAI, July 11 Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank
fell on Thursday, souring bourse sentiment after the
kingdom's largest listed lender posted a near-flat quarterly
profit, while other Gulf markets gained on earnings optimism.
Thin trading volumes again plagued most markets on the
second day of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.
Shares in Al Rajhi fell 1.6 percent, trimming 2013 gains to
15.8 percent. The lender posted near-flat earnings as pressure
on net interest margins crimped bottom-line growth.
Rajhi shares rose 11.3 percent between June 16 and July 10,
with its results announced after the market closed on Wednesday.
"It's profit-taking and partly disappointment on Rajhi's
results - it did have a strong move in last few weeks and is
trading at fair value now," said Hesham Tuffaha, a Riyadh-based
fund manager. "I don't expect it to decline much further."
Until recently, Rajhi was the largest bank in the Gulf by
market capitalisation but has now lost top spot to Qatar
National Bank. Both have double the market value of
the region's third-largest lender, National Bank of Kuwait
Samba Financial Group, Saudi's second-largest
bank, shed 1.5 percent after its slight increase in quarterly
profit failed to excite investors.
Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma'aden) lost 1.4 percent
after it posted a shock 68 percent drop in second-quarter profit
that it blamed on an ammonia plant shutdown and lower gold
The kingdom's benchmark slipped 0.2 percent, cutting
2013 gains to 13.1 percent.
In Doha, Qatar National Bank rose 1.3 percent to
161.5 riyals ($44.35), extending 2013 gains to 23.4 percent and
heading back towards last week's all-time high of 162.7 riyals.
The bank posted a 24-percent jump in second-quarter profit
on Wednesday that beat analysts' estimates.
"We remain positive on the bank's outlook due to its strong
growth in loan book, high capital strength, low cost of funding
and stable inorganic growth," Naveed Ahmed, research manager at
Kuwait's Global Investment House, wrote in a note.
In Dubai, the benchmark rose 1 percent to a
three-week high, taking its 2013 gains to 47.4 percent.
"The main catalyst is Q2 numbers coming soon, which could
support and further justify any rally going forward," said
Marwan Shurrab, fund manager and head of trading at Vision
Elsewhere, Egypt's benchmark index fell 0.9
percent, ending a two-day rally despite a pledge of $4 billion
in an aid package from Kuwait late Wednesday.
Foreigners were net sellers against local buyers, according
to bourse data.
Some local investors also booked gains ahead of a planned
Muslim Brotherhood-led protest at the weekend.
* The index slipped 0.2 percent to 7,690 points.
* The index climbed 0.9 percent to 9,420 points.
* The index declined 0.9 percent to 5,277 points.
* The index rose 1 percent to 2,392 points.
* The index edged up 0.09 percent to 3,706 points.
* The index climbed 0.2 percent to 7,882 points.
* The index ticked up 0.07 percent to 6,491 points.
* The index eased 0.04 percent to 1,190 points.