April 29, 2019 / 1:30 PM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Profit-taking hits UAE markets, Saudi inches up

    * Saudi British Bank hits 4-year high on Q1 results
    * Islamic Arab Insurance, Dubai Islamic weigh on Dubai
    * Egypt market closed due to public holiday

    By Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan
    April 29 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi's stock market slid on
Monday, affected by profit-taking and a sell-off in its
financial shares, while Saudi Arabia was the only major Gulf
market to rise.
    The Abu Dhabi index lost 0.9 percent in its fourth
straight day of declines, with energy firm Dana Gas
dropping 4.1 percent and the largest bank in the United Arab
Emirates, First Abu Dhabi Bank, losing 1.2 percent. 
    Dana's stock traded ex-dividend on Thursday and has been
sliding since. First Abu Dhabi Bank posted a 3.6 percent rise in
first-quarter 2019 profit. 
    "UAE markets have done well year to date and the recent
weakness can be attributed to investors taking profits after the
stocks go ex-dividend," Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio
manager at Al Mal Capital said.
    "Banks have been the driver of this performance – both FAB
(First Abu Dhabi) and Emirates have delivered total returns of
40 percent so far in 2019. No surprise that they are
consolidating here," Bhandari added.
    Dubai's index slipped 0.6 percent, partly due to a
7.2 percent decline in Islamic Arab Insurance Co and
a 4.3 percent slide in Dubai Islamic Insurance And Reinsurance
. Shareholders of both companies elected against a
dividend distribution for 2018.
    Dubai Financial Market fell 2.7 percent after its
first-quarter net profit nearly halved. 
    The weakness in major Gulf markets comes amid a slump in oil
prices after U.S. President Donald Trump demanded that producer
club OPEC raise output to soften the impact of U.S. sanctions
against Iran.
    "The concerns of the implications of the embargo of U.S.
against Iran oil exports is weighing on the UAE market," Tariq
Qaqish, MD, Asset Management Division, Mena Corp Financial
Services said.
    Saudi Arabia's index inched up 0.1 percent, with
Saudi British Bank adding 1.6 percent to touch its
highest level in four years after reporting strong first-quarter
    Al Moammar Information Systems jumped 8.6 percent
to lead the index's gainers. Last week, the company was the
first information technology solutions provider to list on
    Qatar's blue-chip index declined 0.5 percent. Banking
firms Qatar First Bank and Qatar Islamic Bank
 lost 2.3 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.
    Egypt's stock market was closed due to a public holiday.
 SAUDI      The index         rose 0.1 pct to 9,277 points
 ABU DHABI  The index        fell 0.9 pct at 5,332 points
 DUBAI      The index          slid 0.6 pct to 2,760 points
 QATAR      The index        dropped 0.5 pct to 10,360 points
 BAHRAIN    The index        fell 0.3 pct to 1,436 points
 OMAN       The index        was up 0.1 pct to 3,935 points
 KUWAIT     The index        fell 0.2 pct to 6,042 points
 (Reporting by Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in
Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)
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