Abu Dhabi and Dubai stocks pulled back with investors treading cautiously as they await upcoming monetary policy guidance from the Federal Reserve. Saudi and Qatari stocks outperformed with some outstanding corporate earnings cheering the markets.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index traded 0.4 per cent higher to close the day at 10,267 points, with banking, healthcare and real estate stocks leading the advances. The earnings also served as good guidance for investors with Sulaiman Alhabib, Saudi Kayan Petrochemical and Alinma Bank among top gainers after earlier this week announcing improved quarterly profits.
Saudi Advanced Industries ticked up after the first-quarter profits more than doubled and sales scaled up by around 84 per cent, while National Company for Glass Industries clocked a near four-fold surge on the bottom-line for the same period. The kingdom's largest lender Saudi National Bank added to its gains on the back of a 20 per cent rise in the quarterly profits.
Dubai Financial Market headed 0.6 per cent lower at 2,630 points, a break from three days of advances. Islamic Arab Insurance saw its stock tumble the most in a single session for nearly a year - by 9.6 per cent - on the first day of trading with no dividend entitlements. It wiped 8.7 fils of its value, which roughly equals to the declared dividend, drifting the stock into red on a year-to-date basis.
The index was also weighed down as all real estate shares dipped after gains in recent days, which prompted investors to do profit-taking. The telco du gave up early gains as investor focus shifted to lower year-on-year profits, while Dubai Islamic Bank slipped into red ahead of its first-quarter results.
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange edged 0.4 per cent lower as losses spread across sectors with banking stocks weighing more than others. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and First Abu Dhabi Bank all dropped with Aldar Properties and Etisalat joining in the bearish mood.