January 17, 2018 / 2:27 PM / 10 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Big Qatar banks diverge on Q4 earnings in mixed Gulf

* QNB rises; Q4 misses estimates but dividend helps

* But Masraf Al Rayan falls after Q4

* Medicare Group soars in heaviest trade since March

* Saudi index off high after nearing technical barrier

* Emaar Malls is Dubai’s best performer

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets were mixed on Wednesday with Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar’s second-largest bank by market value, pulling the Qatari stock index 0.2 percent lower.

Shares in Masraf Al Rayan sank 2.7 percent after the bank reported a 9.6 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit to 466 million riyals, below an average 562.5 million riyal forecast by three analysts polled by Reuters.

Qatar National Bank also missed forecasts with a 5.2 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit to 2.85 billion riyals ($783 million). But the Gulf’s largest lender raised its cash dividend for 2017 to 6 riyals per share and its stock was up 0.7 percent.

Among the gainers, Medicare Group surged 7.0 percent in its heaviest trade since March; it has doubled from its November low.

Saudi Arabia’s index closed 0.1 percent higher at 7,540 points, coming off the day’s high after approaching major technical resistance on last July’s peak of 7,586 points.

Top petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries gained 0.8 percent, while Saudi Automotive Services rose 1.0 percent after estimating its annual net profit expanded 15 percent, on an 11 percent gain in sales.

In Dubai, the index rose 0.5 percent as the most heavily traded stock, Union Properties, gained 0.9 percent. Emaar Malls was the top performer, adding 2.2 percent, although trading volume fell from Tuesday’s level, which was the highest since early 2016.


* Index edged up 0.1 percent to 7,540 points.


* Index rose 0.5 percent to 3,542 points.


* Index added 0.4 percent to 4,635 points.


* Index fell 0.2 percent to 9,159 points.


* Index rose 0.7 percent to 15,199 points.


* Index fell 0.3 percent to 6,603 points.


* Index gained 0.8 percent to 1,332 points.


* Index fell 0.2 percent to 5,032 points. (Editing by Alexander Smith)

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