October 15, 2019 / 2:00 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi hits 11-month low as most Gulf markets fall

    * Saudi banks decline
    * GASCO drops as it trades ex-dividend
    * Property shares weak in Dubai
    * 23 of thirty stocks fall in Egypt

    By Shamsuddin Mohd
    Oct 15 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock index fell sharply
on Tuesday with all its banking shares declining ahead of
third-quarter results as expectations remain muted, while most
major Gulf markets traded in negative territory.
    In Saudi Arabia, the benchmark index declined 1.6%,
reaching its lowest since November 2018. Riyad Bank
lost 4% and National Commercial Bank (NCB) dropped
    Third-quarter results at Saudi banks are expected to be hit
by two consecutive rate cuts by the Saudi central bank in August
and September, which analysts say will squeeze their revenue.
    "In general, expectations from third quarter results are
muted. Rate cuts are spread negative since a large chunk of
their deposits are cost-free anyways & loan growth is not
exciting," said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al
Mal Capital.
    National Gas And Industrialization (GASCO) fell
4.6% as it traded ex-dividend, meaning any new buyers of the
stock are not entitled to the next dividend payment.
    With Tuesday's fall, the kingdom's main index has fallen in
ten of eleven sessions this month, leaving it 4.2% down year to
date, with over 8% losses coming in third-quarter.  
    The index was up more than 20% in the first four months of
2019 in the run up to joining the MSCI and FTSE emerging-market
indexes, which helped attract billions of dollars from passive
    However, escalating trade tensions between the United States
and China, growing geopolitical risks in the region and volatile
oil prices have hit the market since then and kept active
emerging market funds from investing in the kingdom.
    Egypt's blue-chip index was down 0.9%, with 23 of
30 stocks on the index seeing a decline. Egypt Kuwait Holding
 dropped 2.4% and Eastern Company was down
    Exchange data showed non-Arab foreign investors were net
sellers of the stocks.
    Back in the Gulf, Dubai's main share index slid
0.5%, extending losses from the previous sessions in a downturn
led by real estate stocks.
    Blue chip developer Emaar Properties dropped 1.1%
and Union Properties plunged 7.2%.
    In Qatar, the index rose 0.3%, extending its gains
for a consecutive fourth session, with lender Masraf Al Rayan
 increasing 2.4%.
    In Abu Dhabi, the index was down 0.1%, led by a 0.8%
fall in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and a 0.1% drop in
First Abu Dhabi Bank.
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         was down 1.6% to 7,482 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        edged down 0.1% to 5,082 points
 DUBAI         The index          was down 0.5% to 2,824 points
 QATAR         The index        edged up 0.3% to 10,430 points
 EGYPT         The index          fell 0.9% to 14,060 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        was down 0.1% to 1,519 points
 OMAN          The index        was up 0.1% 4,017 points
 KUWAIT        The index        was Rose 0.3% to 6,243 points
 (Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru, editing by Deepa
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