September 9, 2019 / 1:51 PM / 5 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges up on passive fund inflows, Abu Dhabi slips

    * Dubai's Emaar ends four-day losing streak
    * Abu Dhabi falls for a third day
    * Banks, Emirates Telecom weigh on Abu Dhabi
    * Telecom operators boost Qatar

    By Maqsood Alam 
    Sept 9 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock exchange recovered
from earlier losses to close a touch higher on Monday amid
expectations of billions of dollars more in passive fund
inflows, while Abu Dhabi fell for a third straight session. 
    The Saudi index inched up 0.1% with Al Rajhi Bank
 rising 0.7% and Riyad Bank gaining 1.5%.
    The Saudi Stock Exchange expects additional passive funds'
inflows worth $3 billion from the remaining phases of inclusion
in the FTSE Russell emerging market index starting in
    Three of an eventual five tranches of Saudi stocks have been
added to the FTSE emerging-market index so far this year.
    Saudi gains in 2019 were as high as 20% in May,
outperforming most regional markets ahead of the inclusion of
Saudi stocks in the MSCI emerging markets index, which attracted
billions of dollars from foreign investors. They have been net
buyers every month this year.
    In August, the Saudi exchange completed the second and final
phase of joining the MSCI index, raising its weight on the
closely-monitored index to 2.8%.
    However, the index has reduced its gains for the year to
2.7% as the U.S.-China trade dispute and regional geopolitics
dampened investor sentiment.
    Abu Dhabi's index was down 0.6%. Emirates
Telecommunications Group dropped 1.2% and Abu
Dhabi Commercial Bank lost 1.9%.
    Dhabi's index closed 0.3% higher, led by gains in
market heavyweight Dubai Islamic Bank which rose 0.8%.
    Real estate shares, which have been on the back foot in
recent sessions, also gained. Blue-chip developer Emaar
Properties rose 0.4%, ending a four-day losing streak.
    Dubai property prices, having tumbled 25-35% since a
mid-2014 peak, are facing further downward pressure and are
expected to decline sharply this year and next as a slowdown in
the economy and an oversupply of housing units pose big downside
risks to their already weak outlook, a Reuters poll found.

    The Qatari Index also gained 0.3% as telecom operator
Ooredoo rose 3.6% and Mesaieed Petrochemical
added 2.5%.
    Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index was down
0.3% with the country's largest lender Commercial International
Bank shedding 0.2% and cigarette maker Eastern Co
 losing 1%.
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         edged up 0.1% to 8,055 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        lost 0.6% to 5,076 points
 DUBAI         The index          was up 0.3% to 2,879 points
 QATAR         The index        was up 0.3% to 10,309 points
 EGYPT         The index          was down 0.3% to 14,888 points
 OMAN          The index        edged down 0.2% to 3,985 points
 KUWAIT        The index        dropped 1.5% to 6,415 points
 Bahrain       The market was closed for a public holiday

 (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru
Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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