April 30, 2019 / 1:22 PM / 23 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Bank dents Abu Dhabi as cement makers strengthen Saudi index

    * First Abu Dhabi Bank skids on quarterly results
    * Most of 14 listed Saudi cement companies rise
    * Gulf International Services gains on results
    * El Sewedy Electric lifted by subsidiary's contract 

    By Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan
    April 30 (Reuters) - The Abu Dhabi stock market fell sharply
on Tuesday, dragged down by First Abu Dhabi Bank(FAB),
while the Saudi index was lifted by its cement producers.
    Abu Dhabi's index dropped 1.4 percent as First Abu
Dhabi, the UAE's largest bank, shed 2.4 percent after reporting
first-quarter results. The lender posted a rise in first-quarter
profit but customer deposits and net interest margins fell while
expenses rose.
    "Overall numbers were in line, though it would have been
good to see a beat, as the stock trades at rich valuations,"
said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal
Capital said.
    Bhandari said a 7 percent decline in net interest income was
not expected.
    "In general, we see this as an excuse for investors to cut
market exposure before Ramadan," Bhandari added.
    Saudi Arabia's index rose 0.3 percent, with Gulf
General Cooperative Insurance jumping 7.1 percent to
end as the top gainer after the company's board proposed a
capital increase of 300 million riyals ($80 million) through a
rights issue.
    There were gains for 12 of 14 cement producers after Yamama
Cement posted strong first-quarter results, driven by
an increase in sales volumes and prices. Yamama Cement was up by
5.6 percent.
    "We have had a positive view on the cement sector based on
expectations of a rise in cement demand as construction picks
up, especially in mega projects," Riyad Capital's Muhammad
Faisal Potrik said, adding that he expects cement demand to rise
in the second half.
    Dubai's index added 0.3 percent to snap a five-day
losing streak, partly lifted by a 2.1 percent gain in real
estate company Emaar Properties and its Emaar
Development business, which gained 0.5 percent.
    Qatar's blue-chip index edged up by 0.2 percent,
helped by Gulf International Services and Industries
Qatar. 
    Drilling rig provider Gulf International increased 2.7
percent after posting higher first-quarter net profit, while
Industries Qatar firmed by 1.4 percent. 
    The Egyptian index rose 1 percent, partly supported
by largest lender Commercial International Bank (COMI)
gaining 3.1 percent to touch its highest in nearly a year.
    El Sewedy Electric increased 1.2 percent after a
subsidiary signed a 445 million Egyptian pound ($25.9 million)
contract to build a substation and transmission line.

    
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index          rose 0.3 pct at 9,304 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        fell 1.4 pct at 5,258 points
 DUBAI         The index          rose 0.3 pct at 2,767 points
 QATAR         The index        added 0.2 pct to 10,377 points
 EGYPT         The index          rose 1 pct to 14,920 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        fell 0.2 pct to 1,434 points
 OMAN          The index        rose 0.3 pct to 3,946 points
 KUWAIT        The index        added 0.1 pct at 6,047 points
 

($1 = 3.7501 riyals)
($1 = 17.1700 Egyptian pounds)

 (Reporting by Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in
Bengaluru
Editing by David Goodman)
  
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