Worldwide stocks start year on a high

Asian stocks hit new heights on Wednesday, according to MSCI'S index of global markets. (Reuters)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Worldwide stocks start year on a high

LONDON: Worldwide stocks hit new highs on Wednesday as European markets continued a strong start to the year, suggesting 2018 will be another year of synchronized growth for global markets — led by a robust European economy.
MSCI’s index of global stocks, MIWD — which tracks shares across 47 countries, had jumped to its biggest one-day gain in more than two weeks on Tuesday, after having its best 12 months since 2009 in 2017.
The pan-European stock index sat 0.2 percent higher following considerable gains for their Asian and US counterparts overnight as manufacturing surveys pointed to a strong start for the European economy.
The single currency euro was holding steady near the four-month high of $1.2081 hit on Tuesday.
“Investors have woken up in the new year and looked forward to another firm year for global growth with very muted downside risk,” said Investec economist Philip Shaw. But he urged caution about getting too excited given we are only in the first two trading days of the new year.
“The converse is the sell-off in bond markets: the idea that inflation pressures may be firmer than expected and central banks could take a slightly more aggressive approach than previously thought,” Shaw added.
ECB rate-setter Ewald Nowotny told the German media that the European Central Bank (ECB) may end its stimulus program this year if the euro zone economy continues to grow strongly.
Earlier in the session, Asian stocks struck a range of new peaks: a record high for stocks in the Philippines, a 24-year top for Thailand and a decade-high for Hong Kong. MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, MIAP, rose 0.4 percent, having jumped 1.4 percent on Tuesday in its best performance since last March.
This came after Wall Street started the new year as it ended the old, scoring another set of record closing peaks. The Dow .DJI rose 0.42 percent, while the S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.83 percent and the Nasdaq .IXIC 1.5 percent. The gains in riskier assets came as industry surveys from India to Germany to Canada showed quickening activity.
“The breadth of the recovery is extraordinary,” said Deutsche Bank macro strategist Alan Ruskin, noting that of 31 countries covered, only three failed to show growth while all the largest manufacturing sectors improved.
Oil prices surged again, inching toward two-and-a-half year highs hit on Tuesday as strong demand and ongoing efforts led by OPEC and Russia to curb production tightened the market. Brent crude futures LCOc1 was up 0.6 percent at $67 a barrel, while US crude futures CLc1 shot up 0.8 percent to $60.87 a barrel.


Emirates NBD Q2 profit surges 30 pct as net interest income rises

Updated 18 July 2018
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Emirates NBD Q2 profit surges 30 pct as net interest income rises

  • Emirates NBD made a net profit of $716.1 million in the three months to June 30
  • Bank expanded its international operations in May by agreeing to buy Turkey’s Denizbank from Russia’s state-owned Sberbank for $3.2 billion

DUBAI: Emirates NBD (ENBD), Dubai’s largest lender, posted a 30 percent rise in second-quarter net profit on Wednesday, boosted by a climb in net interest income and a drop in provisions to cover bad loans.

The bank made a net profit of 2.63 billion dirhams ($716.1 million) in the three months to June 30, it said in a statement, compared with 2.02 billion dirhams in the corresponding period of 2017.

That was ahead of two analysts’ forecasts. SICO Bahrain forecast the bank would make a net profit for the quarter of 2.31 billion dirhams, while EFG Hermes expected a profit of 2.14 billion dirhams.

Banks in the United Arab Emirates are expected to benefit this year as economic growth recovers and investment in infrastructure picks up ahead of Dubai’s hosting of the World Expo in 2020.

Emirates NBD, 55.6-percent owned by state fund Investment Corp, was boosted by a 20 percent rise in net interest income to 3.25 billion dirhams compared with the same period a year earlier. — Reuters

That helped offset a 3 percent dip in non-interest income to 1.10 billion dirhams as income from investment securities dropped.

Reflecting improved economic conditions, provisions for bad loans eased by 49 percent to 315 million dirhams.

With existing overseas operations in several countries including Egypt, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Britain, Indonesia and China, Emirates NBD expanded its international operations in May by agreeing to buy Turkey’s Denizbank from Russia’s state-owned Sberbank for $3.2 billion.

The bank said a 21 percent increase in costs during the quarter was due to higher staff and IT costs related to its digital and technology transformation, as well as higher costs related to international branch expansion.

The bank’s loan and deposit portfolio increased marginally at the end of June. Loans rose by 4 percent to 316.4 billion dirhams, while deposits increased by 3 percent 335 billion dirhams.