Shares of National Bank of Kuwait suffered their biggest one-day decline in at least two years yesterday after the lender posted a drop in quarterly earnings, while profit taking ahead of Ramadan weighed on most Gulf share markets.
Shares in NBK fell 5.7 percent to their lowest close since Jan. 3.
NBK, after the market close on Wednesday, posted a net profit of $140.2 million in the three months to June 30, according to Reuters calculations, down from $240.2 million for the same period of 2011. That was half analysts’ forecast of 79.33 million dinars ($281.2 million).
The bank blamed the country’s political deadlock, which has put many economic development plans on hold. Second-quarter profit was hit by a $ 96.4 million provision which the bank took because of “further potential deterioration in our operating environment.”
“NBK’s results ... offer a highly negative surprise — while top-line hardly showed any improvement, there was a lack of support coming from non-interest income,” Naveed Ahmed, analyst at Global Investment House, wrote in a note.
Kuwait’s stock market closed down 0.4 percent at a three-week low.
In the UAE, shares of Emaar Properties fell 1.2 percent, down from Wednesday’s 12-week high. Investors have built positions ahead of the developer’s earnings, which are expected to show a 107 percent rise in second-quarter profit.
Builder Arabtec declined 1.3 percent and Deyaar Development shed 2.4 percent.
Dubai’s index finished 0.7 percent lower, pulling away from Wednesday’s 10-week peak.
In Oman, Muscat’s benchmark shed 0.5 percent. Qatar’s index closed 0.6 percent lower.
Egypt bucked the trend, with its main index rising 1 percent but volumes were thin and investors were cautious after President Muhammad Mursi hinted that he was putting off forming a government.
“The market is very slow, especially with news that the current government is staying until the end of Ramadan, which is disappointing news,” said Osama Mourad of Arab Finance Brokerage.
“It shows that the Brotherhood is incapable of forming a government ... in Mursi’s 100-day program,” he added.
Orascom Construction, Egypt’s biggest company by market value which has construction and fertilizer businesses, gained 0.3 percent while investment bank EFG-Hermes rose 1.8 percent.
“Traders are holding off in anticipation of a long weekend and the start of Ramadan - people that will buy today will only be able to settle their accounts on Tuesday,” Mourad said.