March 6, 2019 / 1:47 PM / 19 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Lender FAB hurts Abu Dhabi, Qatar nears five-month low

    * Abu Dhabi registers biggest one-day fall in eight months
    * 14 of 20 stocks on Qatari index fall
    * Industries Qatar, First Abu Dhabi Bank slide after going ex-dividend
    * Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries drops on full-year results

    By Ateeq Shariff
    March 6 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi's stock index fell sharply for its worst day
in eight months on Wednesday while Qatar touched its lowest in nearly five
months, pressured respectively by First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and
Industries Qatar going ex-dividend.
    The Abu Dhabi index fell 2.2 percent, its biggest intraday loss since
June 2018, with largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank dropping 5.2 percent after
going ex-dividend. The bank had declared a cash dividend of 0.74 dirhams last
month. 
    Union National Bank, meanwhile, gained 1.1 percent after calling
for a shareholder meeting to approve the proposed merger between with Abu Dhabi
Commercial Bank, which firmed by 0.2 percent.
    The Qatar index lost 1.3 percent to its lowest since October 2018,
with 14 of its 20 stocks declining.
    Market heavyweight Industries Qatar slumped 5.7 percent to its
lowest in six months after the stock went ex-dividend.
    The index had jumped 21 percent in 2018 to become one of the world's
best-performing markets, helped by limits being lifted on foreign ownership of
shares, but it has retreated by 4.4 percent this year as the impact of the
change has faded.
    In Saudi Arabia the market dipped by 0.3 percent, with Samba
Financial Group shedding 1.1 percent and Saudi Basic Industries
 down 0.5 percent.
    Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries and Medical Appliances fell 0.7
percent after its full-year net profit dropped to 100.8 million riyals ($26.9
million) from 148.5 million riyals a year earlier.
    The Dubai index eased by 0.4 percent as largest lender Emirates NBD
 lost 1.1 percent and DAMAC Properties fell by 2.1 percent.
    Dubai property prices have been slipping from their mid-2014 peak and were
partly behind the index's worst performance in local currency terms compared
with other major markets last year.
    Though Dubai stocks have rallied this year, led by strong fourth-quarter
results at real estate companies, an expected further fall in property prices is
capping gains.
    Egypt's blue-chip index fell 0.6 percent, with investment company
Egypt Kuwait Holding sliding by 4.3 percent. Last week the company
reported fourth-quarter profit more than halved.
    The country's biggest lender, Commercial International Bank Egypt,
dropped 0.5 percent. 
    
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         slipped 0.3 pct to 8,534 points
 DUBAI         The index          was down 0.4 pct at 2,626
               points
 QATAR         The index        fell 1.3 pct to 9,884 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        lost 2.2 pct to 4,977 points
 EGYPT         The index          was down 0.6 pct at 14,643
               points
 KUWAIT        The index        rose 0.4 pct to 5,596 points
 OMAN          The index        slipped 0.3 pct to 4,153 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        slid 0.3 pct to 1,411 points
 


($1 = 3.7502 riyals)

 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru
Editing by David Goodman)
  
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