September 9, 2018 / 8:04 AM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi exchange opens slightly lower after big losses last week

DUBAI, Sept 9 (Reuters) - The Saudi exchange opened in negative territory on Sunday, extending – even if only marginally – significant losses accumulated at the end of last week as investors were rattled by emerging markets volatility.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, markets were mixed, with the Dubai exchange gaining in early trade and the Abu Dhabi index, instead, shedding some value.

The Saudi index, down 0.2 percent after 30 minutes of trading activity, was pulled down by losses across various sectors including insurance and real estate. Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Co was among the worst performers, down 2.2 percent.

A steadying in oil prices at the end of last week, when Brent crude futures settled up 33 cents at $76.83 a barrel, gave some support to the oil and gas and the petrochemical sectors.

Blue-chip Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) was 0.2 percent up, as well as Sahara Petrochemical Co , up 0.4 percent.

In Dubai, Islamic Arab Insurance Co was the best performer, up 5.7 percent. The company last week surged 10 percent after direct deals or block trades were executed on the stock on 370.7 million worth of shares at 0.42 dirhams.

Gains by several blue chip companies such as Damac Properties and Emaar Malls provided some support to the index, which was up 0.5 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, property companies Aldar properties, Eshraq Properties Co and RAK Properties were among the best performers. But the index was down 0.2 percent, dragged by heavyweight Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA), down 2.7 percent, and energy producer Dana Gas , down 0.9 percent. (Reporting by Davide Barbusci Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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