It was too good to last - Saudi stocks dropped for the first time in 10 days, with investors putting pressure on banking stocks. Other Gulf markets too closed the week in mixed territory as investors sought the next big cue.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index inched 0.7 per cent lower to 9,024 points after a rally that was led by firmed up oil prices. Banks dragged the index most, with Saudi British Bank lower by 2.7 pre cent to SR25.( It appointed Tony Cripps as its new Managing Director and CEO after David Dew retired from the role.)
Higher profit didn't help
Samba Financial Group declined 2.4 per cent to SR32.6 despite posting a 5 per cent rise in full-year profits amounting to SR4.2 billion. Its operating income increased near 10 per cent on the back of higher gains on FVOCI (Fair Value through Other Comprehensive Income) debt and as income from trading, investments and exchange also rose.
Surge on acquisition plan
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange edged up 0.1 per cent to 5,643 points. Agthia Group raced 7.2 per cent higher - its biggest leap since October last. The stock closed at Dh5.8, a level not seen for more than three-and-a-half years after the F&B firm stepped closer to acquiring 80 per cent in Jordan Nabil Foods. Its board has invited shareholders to approve the deal after securing regulatory go-ahead for the transaction.
Eshraq Investments ticked up 2.3 per cent after recommending to shareholders not to pay out bonus to directors and employees for 2020. The decision comes as its full-year losses widened to Dh80.8 million from Dh10.7 million a year earlier.
Qatar Exchange dropped 0.6 per cent to 10,273 points, closing out the week down 2.4 per cent. The index has been on the backfoot since earnings started rolling in slipping into negative territory in four of the last five weeks. Thursday's losses were spread across the board with Qatar Insurance, Qatar National Bank and telco Ooredoo all dipping.
Dubai Financial Market dropped 0.7 per cent to 2,576 points on its third day of consecutive losses. The index traded lower in all of the last four weeks as regional and global mobility curbs impacted the emirate.
Property stocks were hit hardest with Emaar Properties, Emaar Development and Damac edging back between 1-3 per cent adding to their earlier losses made under pressure from watered-down earnings.
Kuwait premier index lost 0.7 per cent to 6,213 points, weighed down by all sectors with financial stocks taking a bigger hit than others. But Oman's 30-company index inched up 0.2 per cent to trade at 3,566 points. Al Jazeira Services shot up 9.5 per cent to its highest single-day gains in nearly a year as its board proposed a higher dividend.
Bahrain shares traded 0.2 per cent higher to 1,481 points. National Bank of Bahrain eked out 1 per cent after its board of directors recommending 20 fils per share cash dividend and 10 per cent of paid-up capital in bonus shares.