MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi bucks trend as Turkey concerns weigh on Gulf markets


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* Market heavyweights FAB, Etisalat boost Abu Dhabi

* Dubai hurt by weakness in property shares

* Emirates NBD drops 2.3 pct on Turkish exposure

* Banking shares weigh on Saudi market

By Saeed Azhar

DUBAI, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Abu Dhabi shares ended 1.1 percent higher on Wednesday, bucking weakness in other major Gulf markets which were dragged down by concerns about the Turkish economy as market activity slowed ahead of a Muslim festival next week.

Abu Dhabi index was boosted by gains in market-heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), which ended 2.5 percent higher, and telecom firm Etisalat, which rose 1.2 percent.

FAB, UAE’s biggest lender, has benefited from its lack of major exposure to Turkey and continued interest after its strong quarterly earnings..

The stock is up 38 percent so far this year, one of the biggest gainers on the Abu Dhabi index.

Dana Gas was down 2.6 percent after it reported a 14 percent decrease in second-quarter net profit on Tuesday, citing one-off sukuk restructuring costs.

Saudi Arabia, the region’s biggest market, fell 0.4 percent in thin trade in the build up to the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. Gulf markets will be mostly closed next week.

Financials were weak with Al Rajhi Bank falling 1.2 percent and Samba Financial down 0.83 percent.

A Morgan Stanley note said despite limited upside, it continues to like Saudi banks within the emerging EMEA region with its top pick being Samba Financial Group.

“Saudi banks are highly capitalised, highly profitable, highly cost efficient, tightly monitored and regulated,” the note said.

Dubai shares fell 0.8 percent, hit by weakness in property firms.

DAMAC Properties fell 1.4 percent, extending losses from a day earlier when it reported a 46 percent drop in profit from continuing operations.

Market heavyweight Emaar Properties dropped 1.6 percent.

Dubai-based lender Emirates NBD fell 2.3 percent, as investors remained concerned about its deal in May to buy Turkey’s Denizbank in a $3.2 billion deal.

In Kuwait, Burgan Bank fell 1.1 percent due to concerns about its exposure to Turkey. Burgan Bank said it had not seen any major impact on its profitability as a result of the recent fall in the Turkish lira.

The Qatar index fell 0.5 percent due to weakness in lender Masraf Al Rayan, which fell 2 percent and a 2 percent drop in Vodafone Qatar.


* The index slipped 0.4 percent to 7,866 points.


* The index fell 0.8 percent to 2,818 points.


* The index rose 1.1 percent to 4,886 points.


* The index lost 0.5 percent to 9,592 points.


* The index slipped 0.1 percent to 5,372 points.


* The index rose 0.2 percent to 1,343 points.


* The index rose 0.4 percent to 4,389 points.


* The index was flat 15,357 points. ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) (Editing by Kirsten Donovan)


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