The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

The Abu Dhabi stock market fell sharply in early trading on Wednesday, dragged down by financial shares as other major Gulf markets lost ground. 

Abu Dhabi’s index dropped 1.2 percent as First Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s largest bank, shed 1.7 per cent. Methaq Takaful Insurance and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank dropped 4.9 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank dropped 1.6 per cent after posting a 5 per cent fall in first-quarter profit last week. The bank, which formalised a merger with two other lenders last week, blamed lower interest income and higher cost of funds.

Qatar’s blue-chip index slid 1.4 per cent, with 18 of its 20 stocks declining.

Qatar Islamic Bank and Qatar National Bank fell 2.1 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively, while Saudi Arabia’s main index was down 1.2 percent.

Middle East Paper Co. fell 6.4 per cent to its lowest in more than a year after reporting a 79.3 per cent fall in first-quarter net profit, citing a decrease in selling prices.

Arriyadh Development fell 1.9 per cent after reporting a 16.7 per cent drop in its first-quarter net profit.

Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia’s second-largest lender by assets, and Riyad Bank fell 1.8 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively.

Dubai’s index was down 0.4 per cent, weakened by its real estate firms. Emaar Development fell 0.3 per cent after posting an 8.3 per cent fall in its first-quarter net profit.

Amlak Finance lost 1.5 per cent after it reported a loss for the first-quarter compared to a profit a year earlier.