Middle East

MIDEAST STOCKS Abu Dhabi hits record high, boosted by telco Etisalat

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An investor monitors a screen displaying stock information at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange June 25, 2014./File Photo

Aug 1 (Reuters) - Most major stock markets in the Gulf rose in early trade on Sunday, with Abu Dhabi index hitting a record high, although Qatar bucked the trend to trade lower.

In Abu Dhabi, the index (.ADI) advanced 1.7%, hitting its record high, buoyed by a 6.5% jump in Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat) (ETISALAT.AD).

On Thursday, the telecoms firm reported quarterly net profit of 2.40 billion dirhams ($653.5 million), up from 2.39 billion dirhams a year earlier.

In a separate bourse filing, the firm also approved distribution of interim dividend of 40 fils per share for the first-half of 2021.

Among other gainers, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD) gaining 0.5%, on course to extend gains from the previous session.

The United Arab Emirates' largest lender on Wednesday posted a net profit of 2.88 billion dirhams for the second-quarter, up from 2.4 billion a year earlier. read more

The bank's net impairment charges fell 36% to 677 million dirhams.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index (.TASI) gained 0.3%, with Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) rising 1.4% and Sahara International Petrochemical Co (2310.SE) climbing 1.8%.

The petrochemical firm posted quarterly net profit of 829.9 million riyals ($221.3 million) compared to a loss of 99 million riyals year ago.

Dubai's main share index (.DFMGI) added 0.3%, led by a 1% increase in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank (DISB.DU).

On the other hand, the Dubai Financial Market (DFM.DU) retreated 3.7% after reporting a sharp fall in second-quarter net profit.

The Qatari index (.QSI) eased 0.1%, hit by a 1.2% fall in petrochemical maker Industries Qatar (IQCD.QA).

($1 = 3.6726 UAE dirham)

($1 = 3.7503 riyals)

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra

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