Dubai stocks underperformed as banking blue-chips sagged, while other Gulf markets impressed investors with a string of robust earnings and dividends.
Dubai Financial Market dropped 1.2 per cent to 2,611 points. Dubai Islamic Bank dropped 2.6 per cent to Dh4.8, posting its sharpest fall year-to-date after reporting a 38 per cent drop in full-year profit to Dh3.16 billion. This came as impairment charges surged to Dh4.55 billion from Dh1.76 billion a year earlier.
The lender's fourth-quarter profits saw an even steeper decline, by 84 per cent year-on-year to Dh168 million and came well below analyst estimates of Dh952 million, said Shabbir Malik, Research Analyst, MENA Financials, EFG-Hermes.
The earnings miss was due to higher provisioning, which in part could be linked to the top-up of provisions on the bank's exposure to NMC Healthcare, Malik added. He, however, said its Dh0.20 per share dividend topped EFG forecast for Dh0.15.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index ticked up 0.2 per cent to 9,102 points extending its gains for a ninth day in a row. Saudi Ceramics surged 4.2 per cent after full-year profit shot up to SR77.7 million from SR7.2 million as revenues rose 23 per cent to SR1.52 billion. The robust performance was attributable to improved sales and profit margins coupled with reduction in selling and administrative expenses.
National Gas and Industrialization Company moved higher by 1.2 per cent after its board approved incorporation of a 100 per cent owned subsidiary. The unit will be specialized in building LPG networks and tanks, developing LPG products and solutions in addition to providing related technical and engineering consultancy services.
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange traded 0.3 per cent higher to 5,664 points with heavyweight lender advancing 1 per cent to Dh14.94. Adnoc Distribution inched up 0.5 per cent, adding to its gains after full-year profits rose to Dh2.43 billion from Dh2.22 billion. It has also agreed to acquire 20 more service stations in Saudi Arabia bringing its total network there to 37.
Bahrain shares notched up 0.9 per cent to 1,474 points with Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait clocking in 3.4 per cent after announcing dividends despite a drop in full-year profits. GFH Financial gained 1.7 per cent as its fourth-quarter profit jumped to $21.9 million from $1.5 million as impairment provisions significantly dropped. Its board also declared $422 million in total dividends.
Kuwait premier index gained 0.6 per cent to 6,251 points as Human Soft Holding raced 5.9 per cent higher fourth-quarter profit and full-year dividends, while Gulf Cable and Electrical Industries eked out 3.7 per cent after it was awarded a KD4.5 million contract to supply overhead conductors.