National banks deliver to boost Saudi stocks

Saudi Arabia’s index gained 1.2 percent. (Reuters)
Updated 07 February 2019
0

National banks deliver to boost Saudi stocks

  • National Commercial Bank added 3.9 percent, while Al Rajhi Bank was up 1.4 percent after the Capital Market Authority approved an increase in capital
  • Saudi Arabia’s impending entry into emerging market indexes should mean a $15 billion inflow of passive benchmark-linked funds

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s index gained 1.2 percent with National Commercial Bank adding 3.9 percent. Ratings agency Moody’s said the bank’s brand and diversified assets make it resilient to slower economic growth in Saudi Arabia.
Al Rajhi Bank was up 1.4 percent after the Capital Market Authority approved an increase in capital. The bank, which is currently capitalized at SR16.25 billion ($4.3 billion), proposed increasing its capital to up to SR25 billion.
Saudi Arabia’s impending entry into emerging market indexes should mean a $15 billion inflow of “passive” benchmark-linked funds, which will attract billions more of active funds, regardless of low oil prices or geopolitical tensions.
Saudi’s Almarai climbed 1.7 percent after the firm said it would acquire Premier Foods for an enterprise value of SR108 million.
In Dubai, the index added 0.5 percent with Emirates NBD, its largest bank, gaining 2.1 percent. The company called a shareholders’ meeting on Feb. 20 to discuss the issue of non-convertible securities.
Commercial Bank of Dubai rose 0.8 percent after its board proposed a full-year cash dividend of 20.7 percent of its share capital. The Abu Dhabi index rose 0.2 percent, with Emirates Telecommunications gaining 0.6 percent. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank increased 1.6 percent to its highest since April 2016, its third straight session of gains. The lender has gained since reporting a 23 percent increase in its fourth-quarter net profit.
Qatar’s index edged down 0.1 percent, with Commercial Bank declining 0.8 percent despite reporting a higher full-year net profit and proposing a cash dividend of 1.5 riyal per share for the same period.
Egypt’s blue-chip share index rose sharply on Tuesday boosted by major lender Commercial International Bank after its strong fourth-quarter earnings, while banks also lifted Saudi Arabia’s stock market.
Egypt’s index gained for a ninth straight session, climbing 2.6 percent with 27 of its 30 stocks rising.
The country’s biggest lender Commercial International Bank jumped 3.9 percent after it reported fourth-quarter net profit after interest of 2.56 billion Egyptian pounds ($146 million) compared to 1.87 billion pounds a year ago. Global Telecom Holding climbed 3.3 percent to its highest since July after major shareholder Veon said that it offered to buy out the firm.


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 19 April 2019
0

India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

  • Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries
  • India said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.