September 2, 2018 / 1:14 PM / 2 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi falls for 3rd day as most Gulf markets slip on global trade woes

* U.S. trade disputes hurting investor sentiment

* Financials drag Abu Dhabi, Qatari stocks lower

* Dubai supported by rise in Emaar Properties

* Egypt hurt by 13.8 pct drop in Global Telecom

By Saeed Azhar

DUBAI, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Most Gulf markets ended lower on Sunday, with the Saudi bourse falling for a third straight day amid investor concern about the impact that trade disputes involving the United States could have on the global economy and equities.

Sentiment among global investors has been dampened by a U.S.-China trade row while contentious trade talks between the United States and Canada ended on Friday with no deal to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Saudi market fell 0.4 percent, with Saudi Basic Industries down almost 1 percent and Saudi British Bank dropping 2.3 percent as traders said investors were focused on external markets.

Muhammad Faisal Potrik, head of research at Riyad Capital, said the Saudi market inflow of new foreign money had not been as much as anticipated after index provider MSCI decided to upgrade the market to emerging-market status next year.

“Turnover has also been slow because of the summer and Eid breaks. We may see volumes pick up now and a possible upward movement if new money comes in,” he said.

Middle East fund managers have become less positive towards equities in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait after Turkey’s currency crisis triggered volatility in the markets, a monthly Reuters poll showed on Thursday.

The Abu Dhabi index fell 0.9 percent, dragged down by a 1.5 percent drop in First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 1 percent drop in telecommunications firm Etilsalat.

Qatari stocks dropped 0.2 percent as financials were weak with lender Qatar National Bank slipping 0.3 percent and Qatar Islamic Bank dropping 0.7 percent.

The Dubai index ended flat, partly supported by a 2 percent rise in Emaar Properties.

Egyptian stocks, which made strong gains last week, ended nearly 1 percent lower. Global Telecom fell 13.5 percent after the company said minority shareholders may not approve an offer from shareholder VEON to acquire its assets in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Hassan Abdelgelil, telecoms analyst at CIC Capital, said this would put further pressure on the stock over the short term amid upcoming debt payments.

The company said there are significant debt maturities, interest payments and capital requirements in the second half of 2018 and 2019 amounting to at least $500 million.

SAUDI ARABIA * The index fell 0.4 percent to 7,915 points. DUBAI * The index ended flat at 2,842 points. ABU DHABI * The index fell 0.9 percent to 4,940 points. QATAR * The index fell 0.2 percent to 9,864 points. KUWAIT * The index was up 0.2 percent at 5,274 points. BAHRAIN * The index dropped 0.1 percent to 1,337 points. OMAN * The index rose 0.4 percent to 4,436 points. EGYPT * The index fell 1 percent to 15,852 points.

$1 = 17.8500 Egyptian pounds Additional reporting by Asma al-Sharif; Editing by Dale Hudson

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