* Saudi Alinma Bank drops after publishing Q1 results
* Saudi petrochemicals also edge down
* Some investors concerned about dependence on China
* Qatar National Bank rises before Q1 profit matches
* Bank, construction stocks lift UAE bourses
By Olzhas Auyezov
DUBAI, April 9 Banks and petrochemical stocks
weighed on Saudi Arabia's bourse on Wednesday, in contrast to
other Gulf markets where Qatar led regional gains.
The Saudi index slipped 0.2 percent to 9,543 points,
despite recording its highest trading volume in two years.
Alinma Bank spearheaded turnover, dropping 2.1
percent after reporting its first-quarter results. Alinma's
profit rose 33 percent to 293 million riyals ($78.13 million).
Petrochemicals were also in retreat. Saudi Kayan
Petrochemical Co dropped 2.7 percent and Rabigh
Refining and Petrochemical fell 2.2 percent.
"There has been talk about the potential effect of the
slowdown in China on the Saudi petrochemical industry in
general," said Abdullah Alawi, assistant general manager and
head of research at Aljazira Capital.
"People are afraid that such a high dependence of Saudi
petrochemicals on the Chinese market might have an adverse
effect on the first-quarter results."
He said China and East Asia account for more than half of
Saudi producers' sales, although product prices have remained
stable and so sector earnings are unlikely to suffer for now.
"(But) we have to realise that the market is a bit
overvalued in general and a correction is waiting to happen,"
Alawi added. "It is nothing to be afraid of."
Qatar's index rose 1.5 percent to 12,375 points, with
most stocks in the black as first-quarter earnings started to
Qatar National Bank, the largest bank in the Gulf
Arab region, gained 1.3 percent. After market hours, the bank
reported a 13.7 percent rise in quarterly profit to 2.43 billion
This was broadly in line with the average forecast of
analysts polled by Reuters, who expected a net profit of 2.45
billion riyals for the quarter.
Abu Dhabi's index climbed 1.2 percent to 5,068
points. National Bank of Abu Dhabi was the main
support, rising 3.6 percent.
Its smaller rival National Bank of Ras al-Khaimah
added 4.1 percent. The lender said this week its shareholders
would meet on May 1 to decide whether to up its foreigner
ownership limit to 40 percent.
Dubai's index climbed 0.9 percent to 4,786 points.
Contractor Arabtec Holding, which is expected to
profit from a resurgent construction sector, was the main
gainer, adding 3.9 percent.
Shares in bourse operator Dubai Financial Market
climbed 3.1 percent, extending gains after a senior policymaker
said the exchange's proposed merger with Abu Dhabi's bourse had
been agreed in principle, though nothing had been finalised.
* The index slid 0.2 percent to 9,543 points.
* The index rose 0.9 percent to 4,786 points.
* The index gained 1.2 percent to 5,068 points.
* The index added 1.5 percent to 12,375 points.
* The index climbed 0.8 percent to 7,768 points.
* The index rose 0.4 percent to 7,572 points.
* The index rose 0.3 percent to 1,388 points.
($1 = 3.7503 Saudi Riyals)
(Editing by Matt Smith)