DUBAI: Most Gulf stock markets ended higher on Thursday, led by a slew of corporate earnings, while Egypt was hit by a blue-chip sell-off.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index closed up 0.4%, with Al Rajhi Bank rising 0.8%, extending gains from the previous session when it reported first-quarter earnings.

The kingdom’s biggest Islamic lender said net profit in the three months ended March 31 rose to 3.34 billion riyals ($891 million). It made a net profit of 2.38 billion riyals in the same period a year earlier.

Elsewhere, Saudi Telecom, which reported a larger net profit for the first-quarter, finished 1% higher.

In Abu Dhabi, the index gained 0.7%, boosted by a 1.4% rise in First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB).

FAB, the country’s biggest lender, posted a 3% rise in first-quarter net profit, helped by a sharp drop in impairment charges and said it expected a pick-up in economic and business activity.

The bank expected the vaccine rollout and improving macroeconomic outlook would underpin business activity in the second half of 2021.

The Qatari benchmark edged up 0.1%, helped by a 1.4% gain in Qatar Fuel.

However, the index’s gains were limited by losses at United Development Company, which reported a fall in first-quarter profit.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index fell 0.4%, snapping five sessions of gains, hit by a 0.9% fall in top lender Commercial International Bank.

But, Sixth of October Development and Investment jumped over 7%.

Last week, the developer appointed financial advisers to study an offer from an Aldar Properties led consortium.

The UAE company announced earlier that it submitted an offer for a stake of 51% minimum, with an indicative share price in the range of 18-19 Egyptian pounds ($1.15-$1.22) per share.


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