Dubai: GCC markets closed lower on Wednesday tracking the tone set by global markets as investors played wait-and-watch ahead of monetary policy announcement by US Federal Reserve that would end closely-anticipated tow-day meeting later today.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index shed 0.6 per cent, closing at 9,602 points. The underperformance prevailed across sectors but it was lenders and petrochemical makers weighing down the index in particular as National Commercial Bank, Al Rajhi Bank, Sabic and Saudi Kayan Petrochemical led the losses.
Saudi Advanced Industries retreated 3.8 per cent after posting around 9 per cent drop in the full-year profits that slipped to SR26.1 million from SR28.6 million a year ago with the sales shrinking 17 per cent. The company attributed the lower profit to watered down dividends from its subsidiaries and increased Zakat expenses.
Qatar Exchange dropped 0.8 per cent to 10,211 points with petrochemical makers Industries Qatar and Mesaieed pulling back 0.8 and 2 per cent, respectively. Banks also played their part in brining down the index as Qatar National Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank and Qatar International Islamic Bank all languished in the negative territory.
Plunge on ex-dividend
Qatar Navigation sank 8.2 per cent on ex-dividend date. Shareholders buying the stock on Wednesday will not be eligible for the latest dividends with March 16 being the cut-off date. Its board had recommended QR0.3 riyal in full-year dividend after its profits dipped to QR59 million from QR547 million a year earlier.
Dubai Financial Market ended five sessions of consecutive gains shedding 0.8 per cent to close at 2,601 points. Most of its banking and property shares declined with Emaar Development leading the losses. Investors sold the stock after its board of directors decided to hand out no dividends for last year and sought the shareholders' approval for the same. The stock retreated 3.5 per cent to trade at Dh2.76.
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange closed slightly lower at 5,746 points after five days of straight gains with Banking stocks and telco Etisalat, which rose for an eight straight session, pulling the index in opposite directions. Ras Al Khaimah Cement dropped 0.6 per cent after it reported Dh119.8 million in accumulated losses representing 23.8 per cent of the capital.
The company mainly blamed the piled up losses on decrease in the average sales price and volume under pressure from the market situation, adding it would take necessary measures to address the losses such as reducing the cost of existing products and introducing new ones with less cost and good quality.