Banks hold back most of Gulf markets | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Banks hold back most of Gulf markets

Most major Gulf stock markets weakened yesterday, largely pulled down by losses in banks, but Abu Dhabi bucked the trend on the back of top lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB).

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index retreated 0.2 per cent, offsetting earlier gains in the day. Samba Financial Group declined 1.6pc, while Saudi British Bank was down 1.7pc.

State-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco slipped 0.3pc to 34.5 riyals. EFG Hermes on Wednesday initiated Aramco’s coverage with a “neutral” rating, in line with most other brokerages, and set a target price of 34 riyals ($9.06) per share.

The Abu Dhabi index gained 1pc with First Abu Dhabi Bank rising 1.4pc and International Holding soaring 14.9pc.

United Arab Emirates’ largest lender, FAB, is in talks potentially to acquire the Egyptian subsidiary of Lebanon’s Bank Audi, Reuters reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

Bank Audi Egypt has grown from a three-branch operation acquired by Bank Audi in 2005 to 50 branches with total assets of $4.4 billion at the end of September, Bank Audi’s Chief Financial Officer, Tamer Ghazaleh, said last week, when he told Reuters the bank was considering selling the unit.

In Dubai, the index fell 0.2pc, driven down by an 8.6pc plunge in Mashreq Bank and a 1pc decrease in Emaar Properties.

Qatar’s index eased 0.1pc as market heavyweight Industries Qatar dropped 0.5pc and Qatar Fuel was down 0.7pc.

However, it saw some support from Qatar National Bank and Masraf Al Rayan, which were up 0.3pc and 0.5pc, respectively.

The latter reported a higher annual profit on Tuesday.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s bluechip index added 0.8pc, buoyed by a 0.9pc increase in the country’s biggest lender, Commercial International Bank, and a 1.7pc rise in El Sewedy Electric.

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