Mideast stocks – Banks bolster Saudi, financials pull down Abu Dhabi

Saudi Arabian stocks rose in early trading on Wednesday as banks gained, while Abu Dhabi was weighed down by financial stocks.

Saudi Arabia’s index rose 0.6 percent with its biggest petrochemical maker, Saudi Basic Industries Corp, adding 1 percent.

Al Rajhi Bank gained 0.8 percent. The Capital Market Authority has approved a capital increase at the bank, which is currently capitalised at 16.25 billion riyals ($4.3 billion). Al Rajhi has proposed increasing its capital to up to 25 billion riyals.

Al Khodari was up 0.7 percent after renewing its 345 million riyal Islamic credit facilities agreement with Alawwal Bank.

Qatar’s index fell 0.4 percent with Ooredoo decreasing 2.8 percent and Industries Qatar losing 0.6 percent.

In Dubai, the index added 0.5 percent helped by a 1.9 percent rise in Emirates NBD. Dubai’s largest bank has climbed for the last four sessions. On Tuesday the firm called for a shareholders’ meeting on Feb. 20 to discuss the issuance of multi-billion dirham non-convertible securities.

The emirate’s blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and its unit Emaar Malls increased 0.7 percent and 2.1 respectively.

The Abu Dhabi index fell 0.3 percent, with Abu Dhabi National Energy slumping 7.9 percent ahead of a board meeting to discuss its full-year earnings.

First Abu Dhabi Bank slipped 0.3 percent. The bank had risen in previous sessions after posting higher fourth-quarter profit and raising its foreign ownership limit to 40 percent from 25 percent.

(Reuters)

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