August 20, 2017 / 8:02 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Three Saudi insurers sink, region mostly quiet

DUBAI, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Three small to mid-sized insurance companies fell sharply in a rising Saudi Arabian stock market on Sunday morning after they were slapped with a temporary ban by the central bank, while the rest of the region barely moved in lethargic trade.

Saudi Indian Company for Cooperative Insurance dropped 6.7 percent, Malath Cooperative Insurance fell 5.5 percent and Arabian Shield Cooperative Insurance slumped 8.3 percent.

The central bank said was temporarily banning those insurers from selling vehicle policies because of “serious breaches” in their car insurance practices. Of the 30 other listed Saudi insurers 12 were down and 13 rose including medical insurer Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance, up 5.2 percent.

All but three of the 14 listed petrochemical producers advanced with bellwether Saudi Basic Industries up 0.5 percent after Brent oil rallied 3.3 percent on Friday.

In the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi’s index barely moved in thin trade; Dana Gas was the top performer, up 3.3 percent, while Abu Dhabi National Energy lost 1.6 percent on profit-taking from last week’s jump.

Dubai’s index was flat as 14 shares rose and eight declined. Qatar edged down 0.1 percent as the largest listed bank, Qatar National Bank, fell 0.7 percent. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Andrew Bolton)

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