September 6, 2018 / 7:37 AM / 2 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi lead losses among Gulf markets on emerging market woes

DUBAI, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Saudi stocks extended losses on Thursday after a more than 3 percent plunge a day earlier, leading losses among Gulf markets as investors remained concerned about turbulence in emerging markets and concerns over global trade disputes.

The Saudi index was down 0.8 percent. Saudi Basic Industries dropped 2 percent and refiner Petro Rabigh fell 4 percent as weak oil prices further dented sentiment.

The index is still up 6 percent so far this year but has lost about 7.8 percent in this quarter. Some brokers said the market was ripe for a correction after heavy selling this week.

“Currently what we see is that the premium to valuation multiples has declined,” said Mazen al-Sudairi, head of research Al Rajhi Capital. “This is because fund managers are looking to reduce equities exposure due to trade wars and especially emerging markets given the steep decline in EM (emerging market) currencies. In our view the probability of downside from these levels is very limited. “ Abu Dhabi index was down 0.3 percent, hurt by weakness in energy and financial stocks. Drop in oil prices pushed shares of Abu Dhabi National Energy Co down by 3.5 percent. Union National Bank, which saw big gains this week on news that it is in merger talks with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, was down 3.2 percent in early trade.

Dubai index was down 0.1 percent. However, insurance firm Salama surged after direct deals or block trades were executed on the stock on 370.7 milllion worth of shares at 0.42 dirhams.

Salama traded at 0.55 UAE dirham ($0.1497).

In Qatar, the index was dragged down by a 1.2 percent decline in market heavy-weight Qatar National Bank.

$1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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