Abu Dhabi leads fall in Gulf markets, Saudi stocks rise

A trader walks out of Bahrain Bourse  in Manama
A trader walks out of Bahrain Bourse after Joe Biden won the U.S. presidency, in Manama, Bahrain, November 8, 2020. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Jan 26 (Reuters) - Abu Dhbai stock market slid on Thursday on weak earnings from heavyweight companies, while the Saudi Arabian shares ended higher amid firm oil prices.

In Abu Dhabi, the index (.FTFADGI) declined 1.7%, its worst day since September, dragged down by an 8% plunge in the country's biggest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD), that logged its lowest close in more than eight months.

The bank reported a 26% drop in fourth-quarter net profit, missing analyst estimates, though annual net profit rose 7%.

The lender also slashed yearly cash dividend by 26% to 52 fils per share compared with 2021.

Al Seer Marine Supplies and Equipment (ASM.AD) dropped 1.1% after it reported a fall in earnings, recording annual net profit of 1.01 billion dirhams, down from 2.52 billion dirhams a year earlier.

The benchmark index (.TASI) in Saudi Arabia added 0.1%, helped by gains in healthcare, financial and materials stocks with Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services (4013.SE) rising 2% and Saudi Arabian Mining (1211.SE) climbing 1.4%.

The world's largest Islamic bank by market capitalization, Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE), surged 1.4%, extending its rally since last Thursday.

Dubai's benchmark index (.DFMGI) rose marginally.

Most real estate stocks in the index dropped, with heavyweight Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU) down 1%, while the utilities and finance sectors stocks rose with Emirates Central Cooling Systems (EMPOWER.DU) adding 0.7% and lender Emirates NBD (ENBD) (ENBD.DU) gaining 0.4%.

Dubai's biggest lender, ENBD, reported a 40% jump in 2022 net profit to 13 billion dirhams ($3.5 billion) on Thursday, helped by higher interest rates and transaction volumes which boosted its overall income.

Qatari Index (.QSI) slipped 0.5%, ending a five-day winning streak, as most of the index constituents were in the negative territory.

Index heavyweights Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB.QA) and Qatar Islamic Bank (QISB.QA) declined 3.5% and 0.8%, respectively.

"The Qatari stock market returned to the downside as traders moved to secure their gains after successive gains," said Farah Mourad, Senior Market Analyst of XTB MENA.

"The main index remains under pressure from the continuously falling natural gas prices".

Reporting by Md Manzer Hussain Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

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