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Saudi stocks pull back on subdued results

Dubai: Saudi Arabian stocks extended their lacklustre performance in recent sessions weighed down by a number of subpar first-quarter earnings, while Dubai shares ended the day higher mainly as blue-chip property stocks continued to cheer the markets.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index dropped 0.7 per to 10,252 points slipping for a fourth day in the last five sessions as the index underwent pressure from mixed corporate earnings and as a raging pandemic in parts of the world continued to cloud oil demand outlook in the short term.

Results paint stocks with red

Banking stocks led the losses with Arab National Bank shedding more than 1 per cent after the first-quarter profits shrank by around 10 per cent to SR582 million as the lender reported decreased net special commission income and increased allowances for expected credit losses. Assir Trading, Southern Province Cement and City Cement all underperformed after reporting subdued first-quarter results.

Dubai Financial Market ended the day up 0.2 per cent at 2,650 points and was heading towards weekly gains of around 2 per cent after closing out the previous two weeks in red.

Property leads rally

The rally so far this week stemmed mainly from real estate stocks with some support coming from the banking peers. The first-quarter earnings announced till date raised investor confidence in companies rebounding from last year's muted performance. All remaining UAE firms are expected to have published their quarterly results by early next week before closing for Eid holidays. Markets bet the earnings will continue to unfold as good as they have been so far.

Blue-chip real estate stocks led from the front with Emaar Properties, Deyaar Development and Emaar Development all trading upward with banking and other financial stocks also playing their role in pushing the index higher.

Earnings trigger

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange scaled up as high as 0.6 per cent during the session before healing back to close the day nearly unchanged at 6,116 points. The gauge partially owes its advances to strong first-quarter results with Waha Capital and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) emerging stronger from the pandemic and posting upbeat profit numbers compared to losses a year earlier.

Waha Capital surged 4.3 per cent and TAQA ended the higher by 0.7 per cent after the robust earnings announcements and led to gains in their sectoral peers.

Best gains

Bahrain shares jumped 0.9 per cent at 1,514 points in what was its best single-day rise year to date, bolstered by strong blue-chip earnings. Aluminium Bahrain picked up 1.4 per cent after reporting a multi-fold spike in the first-quarter bottom-line to BD 52.3 million from BD5.8 million a year ago. The telco Zain Bahrain also ticked up on improved profits for the same period, while Al Ahli United Bank advanced ahead of results expected to come in later in the day.