May 12, 2019 / 1:06 PM / 2 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Military tensions, weak oil pressure most major Gulf markets

    * Deployment of U.S. carrier weighs on Gulf equities
    * Saudi market down almost 7 percent month-to-date
    * Dubai, Doha and Kuwait markets down

    By Hadeel Al Sayegh
    May 12 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market fell on
Sunday, in line with most Gulf markets, after the U.S. Pentagon
approved the deployment of a warship and Patriot missiles to the
Middle East. 
    Sunday's decline was the sharpest one day drop since Nov.
18, 2018. 
    The Tadawul All-Share Index fell two percent to
close at 8,675 points, its lowest level since the end of March.
The benchmark is down almost 7 percent this month.
    "The increased military tension between the U.S. and Iran
are pressuring markets down," said Mohammed Ali Yasin, chief
strategy officer at Al Dhabi Capital in Abu Dhabi. 
    The U.S. military said last week that a number of B-52
bombers would be part of additional forces being sent to the
Middle East following indications of possible preparations for
an attack by Iran. 
    Talal Samhouri, head of asset management at Amwal in Doha
said the Saudi drop was mostly due to bearish sentiment
surrounding Iran and also China's trade dispute with the United
States.
    "Negative sentiment is clouding the bullish expectations for
foreign fund inflows coming from the MSCI inclusion," he said,
referring to the incorporation of Saudi stocks into the index
compiler's emerging index later this month. 
    Dubai's index was down 1.6 percent, weighed by its
largest lender Emirates NBD which lost 3.5 percent.
Investment bank Shuaa Capital was down 8 percent. DXB
Entertainments, the theme park operator for Legoland
and Motiongate, was down 6 percent. 
    "The U.S. navy is sending their ships towards the region
which is a concern for any investors who are looking to trade in
a low liquidity environment," Tariq Qaqish, managing director,
asset management division, Mena Corp Financial Services said.
    For every stock that rose, eight declined on the Dubai
Financial Market exchange. 
    "Although the large caps are trying to hold the indices, the
small companies are being hammered," Yasin said.
    And in Kuwait, the Premier market index was down 2.2
percent.
    The Abu Dhabi index rebounded with a rise of 0.9
percent, boosted by banking stocks. First Abu Dhabi Bank
 was up 1.9 percent.
    However, Waha Capital was down 8.4 percent after
the investment firm reported a net loss of 57.8 million dirhams
due to a revaluation of its investment in global aviation
leasing firm Aercap. Dana Gas, a
Sharjah-based gas explorer and producer, was down 5.3 percent. 
    Qatar's index was down one percent with heavyweight
stocks Qatar National Bank and Qatar Gas Transport
Company falling 0.8 percent and 2.7 percent,
respectively. 
    Investors saw value in Egypt's market after a strong
sell-off last week. Trading was very thin, with almost $12
million of shares changing hands.
    Private equity firm Citadel Capital led the gains, with a
rise of 6.2 percent. Egypt's blue-chip EGX30 index rose 0.4
percent to 14,122 points.
    "Egypt was down five percent last week in line with other
global emerging markets," said Mohamad Al Hajj, an equities
strategist at EFG-Hermes in Dubai. "Today we saw a rebound in
the market as some stocks are trading at very attractive
levels." 
 
    ($1 = 3.7503 riyals)
    ($1 = 3.7501 riyals)    
 SAUDI       The index         was down two pct at 8,675 points
 ARABIA      
 ABU DHABI   The index        rose 0.9 pct to 5,098 points
 DUBAI       The index          lost 1.6 pct to 2,630 points
 QATAR       The index        slid 1 pct to 9,928 points
 EGYPT       The index          was up 0.4 pct to 14,122 points
 BAHRAIN     The index        was down 0.6 pct at 1,428 points
 OMAN        The index        was flat at 3,866 points
 KUWAIT      The index        lost 2.2 pct to 6,163 points
 
($1 = 3.7502 riyals)

 (Additional reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Toby
Chopra)
  
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