February 17, 2019 / 1:09 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE property developers’ earnings give Gulf markets a boost

    * Emaar, Aldar post better-than-expected results
    * Real estate sector gets confidence boost
    * DAMAC gains despite 87 pct drop in Q4 net profits
    * Bank stocks down in Saudi Arabia
    * Orascom Investment extends gains in Egypt 

    DUBAI, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Most stock markets in the Middle
East closed higher on Sunday, reflecting a rally in global stock
markets on Friday, and were also boosted by better-than-expected
company results, particularly in real estate.
    The Abu Dhabi index gained 0.7 percent and the Dubai
index 0.6 percent, as two of the largest property
developers in the United Arab Emirates posted positive
fourth-quarter financial results last week that beat market
expectations.
    “The market is starting to rebuild confidence in earnings as
a driver for sentiment,” said Arqaam Capital in a research note.
    “Sentiment on the UAE was very weak in 2018, specifically
for real estate, on concerns over oversupply risk, pricing
pressure that is leading to extended payment plans, and a rental
yield compression that is continuing to fall," Arqaam said.
    "But Q4 numbers provided evidence that a few developers have
emerged as winners (Emaar Co’s, Aldar) out of market
consolidation.”
    Emaar Properties, Dubai’s largest listed
developer, reported a 27 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit.
The stock rose 2 percent on Sunday.
    DAMAC Properties closed up 0.8 percent, despite
having reported a nearly 60 percent fall in full-year profit and
an 87 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profits.
    In Abu Dhabi, Aldar Properties gained 3.6 percent.
Last week, the developer reported a rise in fourth-quarter
earnings and higher dividends for 2018.
    In other sectors, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank rose 0.5
percent after saying it had no merger and acquisition plans.
This was in response to a Bloomberg report last week which said
the bank was considering such options.
    The Saudi index closed 0.4 percent down, in contrast
to the rest of the region's markets.
    Arab National Bank reported an increase in full-
year net profit to 3.13 billion riyals ($834.62 million) from
3.03 billion riyals one year earlier. The stock remained
unchanged and this failed to give support to the banking sector.
    Alinma Bank < 1150.SE> and Al Rajhi Banking & Investment
Corp lost 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.
    In Egypt, where the main index gained 1.4 percent,
Orascom Investment Holding, up 3.2 percent, was among
the stocks attracting the highest trading volume. 
    Shares in the company jumped last week after its chairman,
Egyptian billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris, said he saw
possible investment opportunities in North Korea if a summit
between its leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump
later this month was successful.
    
        
 SAUDI       The index         lost 0.4 pct to 8,592 points
 ARABIA      
 DUBAI       The index          rose 0.6 pct to 2,550 points
 ABU DHABI   The index        rose 0.7 pct to 5,070 points
 QATAR       The index        gained 0.7 pct to 10,011 points
 EGYPT       The index          rose 1.4 pct to 15,199 points
 KUWAIT      The index        gainedd 0.1 pct to 5,427 points
 OMAN        The index        was down 0.8 pct at 4,077 points
 BAHRAIN     The index        went up 0.6 pct to 1,381 points
 


($1 = 3.7502 riyals)

 (Reporting by Davide Barbuscia. Editing by Jane Merriman)
  
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