March 23, 2020 / 1:34 PM / 6 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf stocks decline as region self-isolates against virus

    By Ateeq Shariff
    March 23 (Reuters) - Most bourses in the Gulf extended
losses on Monday, as a rising number of lockdowns in the region
and elsewhere to contain the spread of the coronavirus
intensified fears of a deep global recession.
    In Dubai, the index declined 3.8%, pressured by a
5% plunge in Emirates NBD Bank. Dubai Islamic Bank
 dropped 3.2%. 
    The UAE, the region's tourism and business hub, said it
would suspend all passenger flights and airport transit for two
weeks to help rein in the virus. [nL4N2BG01A ]
    The decision takes effect in 48 hours, with cargo and
emergency evacuation flights exempted. Airline Emirates
responded by saying it would temporarily suspend all passenger
services for two weeks from March 25.
    The country's only listed airline Air Arabia
closed 5% lower, bringing year-to-date losses to over 43%.
    The Abu Dhabi index retreated 3.1%, with the
country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank shedding
3.1%.
    Saudi Arabia's benchmark index dropped 2.9%, led by
a 8.3% slump in Banque Saudi Fransi and including a
1.1% fall in Al Rajhi Bank. 
    The kingdom imposed a nationwide curfew starting on Monday
after reporting a jump of almost a quarter in coronavirus cases.

    The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council has recorded more
than 1,700 infections and four deaths from the virus. Saudi
Arabia is most affected, with 511 confirmed cases.
    In Qatar, which has recorded 494 cases of the virus, the
index tumbled 3.9%.
    Last week, the country announced measures to support the
economy including providing 75 billion riyals ($20.5 billion) in
financial incentives to the private sector.
    Egypt's blue-chip index bucked the trend, advancing
3% and gaining for a third session. El Sewedy Electric
leapt 7.8% and Telecom Egypt was up 8.5%.
    Egypt will allocate 20 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.27
billion) to support the stock exchange, President Abdel Fattah
al-Sisi said on Sunday.
    
 SAUDI ARABIA          down 2.9% to 5,990 points
 ABU DHABI            fell 3.1% to 3,442 points
 DUBAI                  slid 3.8% to 1,714 points
 QATAR                lost 3.9% to 8,258 points
 EGYPT                  rose 3% to 10,047 points
 BAHRAIN              eased 0.4% to 1,389 points
 OMAN                 was flat at 3,567 points
 KUWAIT               was up 0.9% at 4,948 points
 

($1 = 15.7790 Egyptian pounds)

($1 = 3.6572 Qatar riyals)

 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark
Potter)
  
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