November 11, 2018 / 1:11 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks hit more than two-week low as weak oil prices weigh on Gulf

* Oil price slump hurts sentiment across Gulf markets

* Sahara Petrochemical shares hurt by shutdown of unit’s plant

* Cement shares aided by speculation on Yemen reconstruction

* Property shares weigh on Dubai

* Global Telecom up 5.9 pct on rumours about new tender offer

By Saeed Azhar

DUBAI, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Saudi stocks slumped to their weakest level in more than two weeks on Sunday, hurt by the latest slump in oil prices, which also dragged most Gulf markets lower.

Saudi Arabia’s index shed 0.4 percent to close at 7,711 points, its lowest close since Oct 24. Oil refiner Petro Rabigh dropped 1.7 percent and National Commercial Bank fell 0.6 percent.

Saudi insurance firm Mediterranean and Gulf Cooperative Insurance and Reinsurance (MedGulf) was also down 1.1 percent despite reporting a 70 percent rise in third-quarter net profit.

Shares of Saudi Arabia’s Sahara Petrochemical fell 3.6 pct after the company declared an emergency shutdown of a petrochemical plant at its subsidiary al-Waha Petrochemical due to technical issue.

Saudi cement shares, however, bucked the market trend as some investors hoped an eventual end to the Yemen war will boost regional cement demand for reconstruction in the country.

President Donald Trump’s administration has reinforced its call for a ceasefire and said the “climate is right” for U.N.-backed peace talks to resume.

Najran Cement ended 3.1 pct higher and Southern Cement surged over 6 percent.

Abu Dhabi stocks fell 0.5 percent, with Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) slumping 3.6 percent as weak oil prices eclipsed strong third-quarter earnings last week.

Oil prices fell nearly 1 percent on Friday as global supply increased and investors worried demand growth could slow, sending U.S. crude to its longest stretch of daily declines since 1984.

The Qatar index, which has been the best performing market in the Gulf this year, recovered from early weakness to end 0.2 percent higher, helped by gains in real estate and selective banks.

Weakness in property stocks weighed on the Dubai index , which ended 0.3 percent lower. Emaar Properties dropped 0.8 percent and DAMAC Properties fell 1.4 percent.

In Egypt, financials weighed on the index with Commercial International Bank Egypt falling 2.3 percent and EFG Hermes declining by 1.5 percent.

Global Telecom gained 5.9 percent amid market speculation that its major shareholder could weigh another tender offer for the company.

The speculation was driven by the company’s announcement last week about the appointment of Naeem Financial Investments as indepenent financial adviser to evaluate “fairness value” of its shares in respect of a capital increase.

Amesterdam-based Veon, which owns a 56 percent stake in the company, had made a tender offer to buy the remaining shares in Global Telecom earlier this year, but the bid did not succeed due to regulatory obstacles.

“Rumours of another tender offer is driving the stock higher, but [there is]no formal indication from the company that such an offer is coming,” said a trader in Egypt.

SAUDI ARABIA * The index was down 0.4 percent at 7,771 points. DUBAI * The index was down 0.3 percent at 2,818 points. ABU DHABI * The index fell 0.5 percent to 5,002 points. QATAR * The index was up 0.2 percent at 10,390 points. BAHRAIN * The index was flat at 1,313 points. OMAN * The index was up 0.3 percent at 4,504 points. EGYPT * The index fell 1.2 percent to 13,571 points. KUWAIT

* The index ended little changed to 5,301 points. ($1 = 3.7509 riyals) (Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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