Ending better than it started... Gulf investors shed some of their knee-jerk reaction on Thursday, piling back into the markets. Image Credit: Reuters

The Gulf's stock markets ended the week paring some of the steep losses from earlier in the day. The selling spell in early trades was a reaction seen elsewhere amid lingering concerns about the health of the global economy.

Dubai Financial Markets closed 1.1 per cent down after recovering from a deeper red, with top lender Emirates NBD clawing back most of its losses to end the day 0.8 per cent lower. At one point, it had hit a low of 2.9 per cent. The bank, incidentally, had impressed investors on Wednesday with its forecast-beating full-year results.

The rout in the global markets triggered wider losses with Emaar Properties shedding 1.8 per cent and Dubai Islamic Bank dropping 1.2 per cent.

FAB's smart turn

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange traded 0.4 per cent down with Aldar shedding 2 per cent and Etisalat slipping 0.6 per cent. First Abu Dhabi Bank wiped out all its losses during the day and traded flat at end of the session. The bank had gained 2.5 per cent Wednesday after reporting strong 2020 results, which also helped it neutralise losses on Thursday.

Banks disappoint

Qatar Exchange's main index traded 1 per cent lower as Al Khalij Commercial Bank shed 1.9 per cent after its board of directors proposed a lower dividend payout than a year earlier despite reporting higher full-year net profits and revenues.

The profit rose around 6 per cent on the back of a near 22 per cent increase in revenue, but the board recommended a marginal 0.06 Qatari riyal a share in dividends, down from 0.08 Qatari riyal paid out a year before.

Qatar Commercial Bank fell more than 4 per cent at some point during the session, but recovered to settle 1.2 per cent down. The lender announced its plan to raise at least $1 billion in bonds taking advantage of positive market conditions with interest rates running low.

The bank earlier in the session slipped 4 per cent as its full-year results and watered-down dividends disappointed investors.

Bucking a trend

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index actually gained 0.3 per cent, its third rise in the last 11 sessions. Telecoms led the way after a report that the massive NEOM City project is in talks with local and international tech firms for a cloud computing deal. Saudi Telecom rose 1.3 per cent and Zain Saudi traded higher by 0.7 per cent.

However, the food group Savola pulled back 1.6 per cent after reporting a 67 per cent plunge in fourth-quarter net profit amidst lower sales and margins.

Oman's 30-company index was down 0.3 per cent as National Bank of Oman dipped after announcing no dividends to shareholders and an exposure to the defaulting Darvesh Group, while Bahrain index edged back 0.4 per cent with telco Batelco retreating 0.7 per cent.