The Saudi Stock Exchange, also known as the Tadawul, in Riyadh. Saudi Arabian stocks pulled back on Sunday with its banking stocks weighing down the index. Image Credit: File photo

Dubai: Saudi Arabian stocks pulled back on Sunday with its banking stocks weighing down the index, while investors in other GCC markets were upbeat as first-quarter results are set to gather pace in coming days.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index slipped 0.7 per cent to 9,938 points with its key lenders - Al Rajhi, Banque Saudi Fransi, Riyad Bank and Saudi British Bank - languishing in red. F&B firm Almarai also dropped 0.4 per cent as it failed to improve on last year's profits.

Lacklustre results

Almarai reported SR385.9 million in profits for the first quarter, just marginally higher than SR383 million for the first three months a year ago. The firm said in a statement that profits for the bakery category decreased by 35.7 per cent due to lower sales amid continuing school closures. Poultry has also seen its net income drop by 24 per cent under pressure from lower subsidy compared to the last year.

Dubai Financial Market closed up 0.4 per cent at 2,593 points, bolstered mainly by real estate stocks. Emaar Properties soared to its best single-day gain in the last nine sessions by advancing 1.9 per cent as investors looked hopeful about the prospects of the real estate sector in the emirate after the firm's managing director announced the first-quarter sales at Dh6 billion, more than double the amount for the corresponding period a year earlier.

Property rallies

Nearly all real estate stocks followed the Emaar lead and ended the day higher as investors bet they might repeat the same performance. Damac Properties, Emaar Development and Union Properties all moved upward. The index was also helped as some financial stocks clawed back their morning losses with Ajman Bank and Amlak Finance trading higher by 1.4 per cent, while Emirates NBD closed unchanged after recouping all its early losses.

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange picked up 0.2 per cent at 6,070 points. The telco Etisalat provided the biggest boost by eking out 0.7 per cent with financial stocks joining the rally. First Abu Dhabi Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank all advanced ahead of their quarterly results.

Up ahead of earnings

Qatar Exchange ticked up 0.2 per cent to trade at 10,564 points. Barwa Real Estate gained 0.9 per cent after reporting it sold out a property in Saudi Arabia in a deal valued at SR742.4 million. Qatar Islamic Bank and Qatar National Bank traded higher ahead of their earnings announcements planned after closing of the trading session. After the market closed, QNB reported a lower net profit at QR3.31 billion, down from QR3.57 billion for the same period last year.

Oman's 30-company index closed up 0.3 per cent at 3,721 points with Al Anwar Ceramic Tiles edging up 1.2 per cent after the first-quarter profits more than doubled to OR2 million on the back of higher revenue of OR7.7 million, up from OR5.9 million for the first three months a year ago. Some other stocks including banking and energy ones also showed upside movement ahead of earnings releases as they are all planned to announce their results by the end of this week.

Banks lead

Kuwait premier index jumped 1 per cent to close the session at 6,571 points with baking stocks leading the way as nearly all of them ended the day higher. Financial stocks also pushed the Bahrain shares upward, with the index there trading up 0.2 per cent at 1,457 points.