MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi outperforms thanks to banks, other Gulf markets mixed
By Ateeq Shariff
July 18 (Reuters) - Stocks in the United Arab Emirates surged on Thursday, outperforming most major Gulf markets, boosted by strong earnings at top lenders.
In Abu Dhabi, the index closed 2.7% higher, buoyed by First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) FAB.AD, which rose 4% to its highest level since May after posting a 5% rise in second-quarter net profit.
The bank recorded a net profit of 3.2 billion dirhams ($871 million) in the quarter ending June 30, versus 3.06 billion dirhams a year earlier.
Similarly, the Dubai index .DFMGI climbed 1.7%, driven by a 2.7% rise in Emirates NBD ENBD.DU after the bank announced an 80% jump in second-quarter earnings.
The bank made a net profit of 4.74 billion dirhams ($1.29 billion) in the three months to June 30, helped by an asset sale and foreign exchange gains. EFG Hermes had expected a net profit of 4.06 billion dirhams.
The results reinforced signs that top banks in the UAE are managing to withstand strains from a sluggish economy and a property downturn in Dubai.
Emirates NBD said on Wednesday it had received permission to open 20 more branches in Saudi Arabia.
Egypt's blue-chip index .EGX30 advanced 0.2%, with Cairo Investment and Real Estate Development CIRA.CA jumping 6.8%.
Saudi Arabia's main index .TASI fell 0.5%, ending eight straight days of gains triggered by EFG Hermes forecasting that profits for the kingdom's financial sector would grow 7.6% in the second quarter. Nine of 11 Saudi banks fell.
Al Rajhi Bank 1120.SE lost 0.7%, while National Commercial Bank 1180.SE was down 0.9%.
Qatar's index .QSI dropped over 1% with 17 of 20 stocks declining. Commercial Bank COMB.QA plunged 4.5% and Industries Qatar IQCD.QA lost 1.5%.
The index .TASI dropped 0.5% to 9,034 points
The index .ADI gained 2.7% to 5,218 points
The index .DFMGI added 1.7% to 2,763 points
The index .QSI lost 1% to 10,503 points
The index .EGX30 was up 0.2% at 13,670 points
The index .BAX slid 0.1% to 1,538 points
The index .MSI was flat at 3,748 points
The index .BKP declined 0.3% to 6,747 points
($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
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