March 24, 2019 / 1:28 PM / 3 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi index retreats from multi-year peak; Gulf rivals also fall

    * Petrochemicals and banks weigh on Saudi index
    * SHUAA Capital surges on merger talks
    * Banking shares fall in Abu Dhabi

    DUBAI, March 24 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market
closed lower on Sunday, along with other Gulf markets, having
ended the previous week at its highest in nearly four years
after inclusion in the FTSE Russell's emerging-market index.
    Saudi's Tadawul index will have a weighting of 2.9
percent in the FTSE Emerging All Cap Index and this year will
join the MSCI emerging market benchmark. 
    The Saudi index dropped 0.7 percent on Sunday, dragged down
by petrochemical and banking shares. 
    Petrochemical companies Saudi Basic Industries and
Saudi Kayan closed 1.1 percent and 4.6 percent down
respectively. Sipchem lost 0.9 percent after its chief
executive Ahmad al-Ohali resigned following his appointment as
Governor of the General Authority for Military Industries.
    National Commercial Bank retreated by 1.1 percent,
Al Rajhi Bank eased by 0.4 percent and Riyad Bank
 lost 1.1 percent. 
     In Dubai, the main index dipped by 0.4 percent,
extending Thursday's losses, with the Dubai Islamic Bank
 falling 1 percent and Emirates NBD losing
0.6 percent. 
    Developers DAMAC Properties and Emaar Properties
 lost 2.1 percent and 0.4 percent respectively. 
    SHUAA Capital surged 15 percent after announcing
it was in talks with Abu Dhabi Financial Group on a potential
merger. It said each party had formed a working group to review
the commercial potential of a deal.
    The Abu Dhabi index closed 0.6 percent down, with
First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
 losing 0.9 percent and 0.7 percent respectively. 
    Qatar's index was off 0.6 percent as Qatar National
Bank gave up 1 percent, Industries Qatar
lost 0.8 percen, and Commercial Bank fell by 1.9
percent. 
    In Egypt, the index firmed by 0.4 percent, helped
by a 0.5 percent gain for manufacturer Eastern Co and
a 1.5 percent rise for Commercial International Bank.
El Sewedy Electric Co also gained 1.5 percent.
    Arqaam Capital said in a note that it sees an increasing
chance of a 50-100bps interest rate cut in Egypt because of a
more dovish stance in the United States, strengthening the
Egyptian pound, and continued portfolio inflows. 
    
 SAUDI       The index         fell 0.7 pct to 8,647 points
 ARABIA      
 ABU DHABI   The index        fell 0.6 pct to 5,095 points
 DUBAI       The index          fell 0.4 pct to 2,619 points
 QATAR       The index        fell 0.6 pct to 9,890 points
 EGYPT       The index          rose 0.4 pct to 14,841 points
 KUWAIT      The index        rose 0.5 pct to 5,920 points
 OMAN        The index        fell 0.6 pct to 4,127 points
 BAHRAIN     The index        fell 0.3 pct at 1,423 points
 
 (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell
Editing by David Goodman)
  
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