Edition:
United Kingdom

Abinaya Vijayaraghavan

MIDEAST STOCKS-Global trade tensions, Ramadan dent appetite for Gulf stocks

08 May 2019

* 29 of 30 stocks in Egypt fall * Emaar Misr falls on lower Q1 results * Financials lift Kuwait index * Middle East Paper slides to 1-year low on Q1 results By Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan May 8 The Egyptian blue-chip index slid sharply to its worst day in six months on Wednesday, mirroring weak global sentiment, while Saudi Arabia's index fell, pressured by global tensions and investors retreating from markets during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Egypt's blue-chip index fell 2.5 percent, with 29 out of 30 stocks trading in the red. Egypt's largest lender Commercial International Bank Egypt fell 0.7 percent, while Egyptian Iron & Steel plunged 9.9 percent. Property developer Emaar Misr For Development fell 4.7 percent after reporting a 16.8 percent fall in its first-quarter net profit. Oil prices stabilised as markets remained relatively tight amid U.S. sanctions on crude exporters Iran and Venezuela, while global shares dipped to a near five-week low amid renewed trade tensions between U.S. and China. "The sell-off across the region is mainly due to deteriorating sentiment globally following Trump's China tariffs announcement. Most global equity markets witnessed broad-based sell-offs and our (Gulf) region was not spared," said Nadi Bargouti, head of asset management at Shuaa Capital. "Unfortunately, recent geopolitical developments are adding to investor anxiety and applying more pressure on regional markets," Bargouti added. The Saudi index was down 0.8 percent. The country's second-largest lender by assets, Al Rajhi Bank, lost 2 percent and Riyad Bank shed 1 percent. Middle East Paper Co fell 6.6 percent to its lowest in more than a year after reporting a 79.3 percent plunge in first-quarter net profit, citing a drop in selling prices. Takween Advanced Industries slid 2.6 percent as its first-quarter net loss widened. The Qatar index was down for the fourth straight day, falling 1.3 percent, with 18 of the 20 stocks declining. Heavyweights Industries Qatar and Commercial Bank fell 2.9 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. Locally, Ramadan is a factor that underlines the sell-off across Gulf markets, when volumes slow down and with that any selling pressure gets aggravated, said Vrajesh Bhandari, portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. "Note that investors have made decent returns this year and it is not surprising they are taking some money off the table," Bhandari added. Dubai's index was down 0.5 percent, with pressure from its real estate firms. DAMAC Properties and Emaar Properties fell 2.6 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Amlak Finance lost 1.5 percent after it reported a loss for the first-quarter compared to a profit a year earlier. Abu Dhabi's index closed flat. Abu Dhabi National Hotels jumped 14.7 percent in light trade. Earlier this week, the company posted higher first-quarter operating revenue. Kuwait's index was the only major Gulf market in the positive territory, adding 0.9 percent with Zain Kuwait and National Industries Group gaining 2.2 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively. SAUDI ARABIA The index fell 0.8 pct at 8,900 points ABU DHABI The index was flat at 5,124 points DUBAI The index slid 0.5 pct at 2,713 points QATAR The index lost 1.3 pct at 10,123 points EGYPT The index fell 2.5 pct to 14,027 points BAHRAIN The index dipped 0.1 pct at 1,441 points OMAN The index fell 0.7 pct at 3,875 points KUWAIT The index gained 0.9 pct at 6,365 points (Reporting by Karina Dsouza in Bengaluru Editing by Frances Kerry)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil, geopolitical tensions weigh on Saudi; most Gulf markets down

07 May 2019

* Alawwal Bank falls on lower Q1 results * Islamic Arab Insurance drags on Dubai index * Kuwait jumps ahead of MSCI decision * Lender ADCB weighs on Abu Dhabi By Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan May 7 Saudi Arabia's stock market fell on Tuesday for the fourth straight day, weakened by a combination of lower oil prices and geopolitical tension in the Middle East, while Egypt's blue-chip index was buoyed by its largest lender. The Saudi index was down 0.8 percent. The country's second-largest lender by assets Al Rajhi Bank lost 1.1 percent and National Commercial Bank shed 2.3 percent. Alawwal Bank eased 1.8 percent after reporting a fall in its first-quarter net profit due to higher costs. Oil prices fell as renewed doubts over U.S.-China trade talks stoked concerns over global growth, while the United States said on Sunday it was deploying the Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East in response to troubling "indications and warnings" from Iran. "A combination of lower oil prices, regional instability, U.S. sending carriers to the Gulf will have a negative effect on the regional markets and in particularly Saudi as it is the most looked at market currently," Rami Jamal, portfolio manager at Amwal in Doha said. Egypt's blue-chip index rose 1.3 percent, with its largest lender Commercial International Bank Egypt adding 2.8 percent. The firm posted an increase in first-quarter net profit, aided by strong net interest margins and deposits. Eastern Co rose 1.4 percent after saying it would launch a new Black Massal product and expected Black Massal sales to rise by 50 percent from current levels. Kuwait's blue chip index added 1.9 percent with Zain Kuwait and National Bank of Kuwait gaining 2.7 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively. Last week, Zain Kuwait reported a 15 percent rise in first-quarter net profit helped by strong growth in Bahrain and Iraq. The index is on MSCI's watch list for a potential upgrade to emerging market status by mid-June. Kuwait's weight in the emerging market index could reach about 0.51 percent which will result in $2.5 billion of passive inflows, Jaap Meijer, head of equity research at Arqaam Capital said. The country has seen strong foreign interest over the past year on the back of its FTSE emerging market inclusion last year and the potential upcoming MSCI re-classification, Meijer added. The Abu Dhabi index slipped 0.4 percent, with Abu Dhabi Commerical Bank shedding 3.7 percent after reporting first-quarter results. The bank, which formalised a merger with two other lenders last week, reported a 5 percent fall in first-quarter profit, hurt by lower interest income. Gulf Cement dropped 6.1 percent, while First Abu Dhabi Bank , the largest in the United Arab Emirates, dipped 0.3 percent. In Dubai, the index traded 0.3 percent lower, with Islamic Arab Insurance down 7.3 percent and the top loser after denying talks of a merger. Property firm Emaar Development fell 1.9 percent. The company reported a 8.3 percent drop in its first-quarter net profit. The Qatar index was down 0.4 percent, with Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding dropping 2.8 percent. Qatar National Bank and Qatar International Islamic Bank slipped 1.3 percent and 1 percent, respectively. SAUDI ARABIA The index fell 0.8 pct to 8,969 points ABU DHABI The index dipped 0.4 pct to 5,124 points DUBAI The index was 0.3 pct lower at 2,726 points QATAR The index lost 0.4 pct to 10,251 points EGYPT The index rose 1.3 pct to 14,390 points BAHRAIN The index rose 0.3 pct to 1,442 points OMAN The index dipped 0.1 pct to 3,901 points KUWAIT The index gained 1.9 pct to 6,310 points (Reporting by Karina Dsouza in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi hit by profit-taking, financials drag major Gulf markets

06 May 2019

* Seera Group tumbles on lower Q1 net-profit * 24 of 30 stocks on Egypt's index fall * Egypt's El Sewedy, SODIC slide on trading ex-dividend * Dubai's RAK Properties drops after Q1 results By Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan May 6 Saudi Arabia's stock market fell on Monday to its lowest point in eight months, hurt by profit-taking in its banks, while most major Middle Eastern markets also slid sharply. The Saudi index was down 1.5 percent, weakened by financial and petrochemical stocks. Its biggest lender, National Commercial Bank, decreased 1.9 percent and Banque Saudi Fransi lost 4.3 percent. Oil prices tumbled after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would sharply raise tariffs on Chinese goods this week. Yanbu National Petrochemicals and Advanced Petrochemicals fell 2 percent and 1.8 percent respectively. Travel operator Seera Group fell 5.2 percent after posting a 40 percent drop in its first-quarter net profit, citing competitive pricing and higher costs. "The interest rate is unlikely to rise, business volumes are likely to be low as we enter Ramadan period, and now weaker crude prices present an ideal gain booking opportunity," analyst Chiro Ghosh at SICO said in Bahrain. The deep sell-off in the financial sector was profit-taking by investors who had made reasonable gains, Ghosh added. Last week, Saudi local investors were net sellers of stocks, representing 85.8 percent of total selling activity, while foreign investors were net buyers, according to stock exchange data. The Egyptian blue-chip index dropped 2.1 percent, with 24 of its 30 stocks declining. El Sewedy Electric plunged 8.1 percent and developer Sixth Of October Development And Investment Co (SODIC) dropped 4.4 percent as the stocks traded ex-dividend. Non-Arab foreign investors were the net buyers in Monday's session, while Arab investors were the net sellers, according to stock exchange data. Egyptian Chemical Industries (Kima) was down 6.7 percent. The company reported an 81.7 percent fall in net profit for the nine-month period, while Emaar Misr For Development dropped 6.8 percent after posting a fall in its first-quarter net profit. "Kima's results are weak, falling short of our estimates by a considerable margin, as the company continued to face hurdles to export its output to Sudan and Turkey," NAEEM Brokerage in a note. Qatar's blue-chip index slid 1.6 percent, pressured by financial stocks. Qatar Fuel and Qatar First Bank fell 3.9 percent and 3.8 percent, receptively. The index has risen only 0.2 percent year-to-date, making it one of the worst performing Gulf markets this year. Out of 10 fund managers polled, most said they would keep their investments in Qatar at the same level, while 40 percent said they would reduce them, according to a Reuters poll last week. The Abu Dhabi index slipped 1.5 percent, with Finance House and National Bank of Umm Al Qaiwain falling 10 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively. The latter reported a fall in its total income for the first-quarter. Property developer RAK Properties shed 1.8 percent after it reported an 84 percent slump in first-quarter net profit. In Dubai, the index traded 0.7 percent, with Dubai Investments sliding 1.5 percent after a 44 percent drop in its first-quarter net profit. Islamic insurers Dar Al Takaful and Islamic Arab Insurance fell 7.7 percent and 4.2 percent respectively. SAUDI ARABIA The index fell 1.5 pct at 9,043 points ABU DHABI The index was down 1.5 pct at 5,146 points DUBAI Index slid 0.7 pct at 2,733 points QATAR The index lost 1.6 pct to 10,297 points EGYPT The index fell 2.1 pct to 14,205 points BAHRAIN The index added 0.1 pct at 1,438 points OMAN The index fell 0.7 pct at 3,905 points KUWAIT The index was up 0.3 pct at 6,191 points (Reporting by Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Heinrich)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar hits 3 month high, financials weigh on Abu Dhabi

02 May 2019

* Gulf International at 3-month high on drilling contract * United Arab Bank slides after Q1 results * Emaar Properties gains on unit's project * Saudi Basic Industries falls on brokerage action By Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan May 2 Qatar's stock market closed at a three-month high on Thursday, buoyed by drilling rig provider Gulf International Services, while the Abu Dhabi index was pressured by financial shares. The Qatar index rose 0.8 percent, with Gulf International Services jumping 10 percent after its unit was awarded contracts by Qatar Petroleum to provide six offshore drilling rigs. Brokerage firm QNB Financial Services raised its rating on the stock to 'outperform' from 'accumulate', citing its ability to secure contracts for six rigs out of a total deal size of eight. "Our preliminary sense is a material uplift in earnings from 2020 onward and we consequently raise our earnings estimated by an average of 28 percent over 2020-2023," QNB said in a note. The Abu Dhabi index was down 0.3 percent, with United Arab Bank sliding 4.2 percent and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) losing 0.5 percent. United Arab Bank posted a nearly 40 percent drop in its first-quarter net profit, while ADCB began trading on Wednesday as a newly formed entity after completing a three-way merger with Union National Bank and Al Hilal Bank. Dubai's index added 0.3 percent, helped by a 2.4 percent rise by Emaar Properties and a 2.9 percent gain in Dubai Investments. Emaar's unit Emaar Development began a 25 billion dirham ($6.81 billion) coastal building project in Dubai. But the stock fell 4.9 percent as it traded ex-dividend. "I think Emaar Developments will do better than most real estate developers in Dubai because it has de facto state backing, which makes it harder for the competition," said Khaled Abdel Majeed, Managing Partner at MENA Capital. The company is facing headwinds from oversupply in its core Dubai market, Majeed said, adding that the valuation is reasonable but macro and political challenges are "significant". The Saudi Arabian index fell 0.3 percent, with Gulf Union Cooperative Insurance declining 4.8 percent after actuaries recommended an increase in its technical reserves of 27.5 million riyals ($7.33 million). Market heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries dropped 1.3 percent after HSBC cut its target price and rating on the stock. Egypt's blue-chip index slid 0.3 percent, as its biggest stocks Eastern Co and Commercial International Bank lost 4.2 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively. On Tuesday, Eastern Co posted a drop in its nine-month net profit. Kuwait's blue chip index added 1.4 percent, with Mabanee Company and Burgan Bank gaining 3.9 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. Mabanee posted a 13 percent rise in its first-quarter profit. SAUDI The index fell 0.3 pct to 9,337 points ARABIA ABU DHABI The index dropped 0.3 pct to 5,243 points DUBAI The index was up 0.3 pct to 2,759 points QATAR The index added 0.8 pct to 10,481 points EGYPT The index slid 0.3 pct to 14,880 points BAHRAIN The index added 0.1 pct at 1,435 points OMAN The index was flat at 3,965 points KUWAIT The index rose 1.4 pct at 6,126 points ($1 = 3.7502 riyals) (Reporting by Karina Dsouza in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Heinrich)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Cement makers stir Saudi stock rally, Dubai slips

01 May 2019

* Emaar Properties hits 1-month low as trades ex-div * All Saudi cement producers gain in 2-day rally * ADCB falls on first day of trading as new co * Egypt, Bahrain closed for public holiday By Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan May 1 Saudi Arabia's stock market gained on Wednesday, lifted for a second session by a results-driven rally in cement producers, while Dubai's slipped after Emaar Properties traded ex-dividend and its shares hit a one-month low. Saudi Arabia's index rose 0.6 percent, with Umm Al Qura Cement the top gainer with a 9.9 percent leap after reporting a significant rise in first-quarter net profit. Most Saudi cement producers gained for the second straight day after strong first-quarter results, driven by higher selling prices and volume. All 14 cement producers were trading in positive territory, with Southern Province Cement adding 9.8 percent and Northern Region Cement gaining 8.1 percent. There is a positive view on the cement sector due to expectations of a rise in demand as construction picks up, especially in mega projects, Riyad Capital's Muhammad Faisal Potrik said. Dubai's index slid 0.6 percent, with Emaar Properties falling 3.3 percent to a one-month low as the stock traded ex-dividend. Air Arabia slid 2 percent after the budget airline said it is likely to order 100 or more Airbus or Boeing jets within the next three to four months. The Abu Dhabi index traded flat, reversing some early losses. ADNOC Distribution, the fuel distribution arm of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), gained 1.2 percent after reporting a 6.6 percent rise in its first-quarter profit. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) closed 1.8 percent lower on its first trading day as a new entity following its three-way merger with Union National Bank and Al Hilal Bank to create the third biggest bank in the UAE. ADCB touched a 13 year high as of Tuesday's close, ahead of its effective merger date. "The combined bank will face operational challenges in the beginning, so we prefer to stay on the side until we see a fully operational entity," Tariq Qaqish, MD, Asset Management Division, Mena Corp Financial Services said. "As medium to long term investors, we would wait and see the outcome of the synergy kicking in," he added. Qatar's blue-chip index edged up 0.2 percent, helped by Doha Bank and Gulf International Services gaining 2.7 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. The latter, a drilling rig provider, posted higher first-quarter net profit. Egypt and Bahrain's stock market was closed due to a public holiday. SAUDI ARABIA The index was up 0.6 pct at 9,362 points ABU DHABI The index ended flat at 5,258 points DUBAI The index fell 0.6 pct at 2,752 points QATAR The index added 0.2 pct at 10,400 points OMAN The index gained 0.5 pct at 3,966 points KUWAIT The index fell 0.1 pct at 6,044 points ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) (Reporting by Karina Dsouza in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Bank dents Abu Dhabi as cement makers strengthen Saudi index

30 Apr 2019

* First Abu Dhabi Bank skids on quarterly results * Most of 14 listed Saudi cement companies rise * Gulf International Services gains on results * El Sewedy Electric lifted by subsidiary's contract By Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan April 30 The Abu Dhabi stock market fell sharply on Tuesday, dragged down by First Abu Dhabi Bank(FAB), while the Saudi index was lifted by its cement producers. Abu Dhabi's index dropped 1.4 percent as First Abu Dhabi, the UAE's largest bank, shed 2.4 percent after reporting first-quarter results. The lender posted a rise in first-quarter profit but customer deposits and net interest margins fell while expenses rose. "Overall numbers were in line, though it would have been good to see a beat, as the stock trades at rich valuations," said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital said. Bhandari said a 7 percent decline in net interest income was not expected. "In general, we see this as an excuse for investors to cut market exposure before Ramadan," Bhandari added. Saudi Arabia's index rose 0.3 percent, with Gulf General Cooperative Insurance jumping 7.1 percent to end as the top gainer after the company's board proposed a capital increase of 300 million riyals ($80 million) through a rights issue. There were gains for 12 of 14 cement producers after Yamama Cement posted strong first-quarter results, driven by an increase in sales volumes and prices. Yamama Cement was up by 5.6 percent. "We have had a positive view on the cement sector based on expectations of a rise in cement demand as construction picks up, especially in mega projects," Riyad Capital's Muhammad Faisal Potrik said, adding that he expects cement demand to rise in the second half. Dubai's index added 0.3 percent to snap a five-day losing streak, partly lifted by a 2.1 percent gain in real estate company Emaar Properties and its Emaar Development business, which gained 0.5 percent. Qatar's blue-chip index edged up by 0.2 percent, helped by Gulf International Services and Industries Qatar. Drilling rig provider Gulf International increased 2.7 percent after posting higher first-quarter net profit, while Industries Qatar firmed by 1.4 percent. The Egyptian index rose 1 percent, partly supported by largest lender Commercial International Bank (COMI) gaining 3.1 percent to touch its highest in nearly a year. El Sewedy Electric increased 1.2 percent after a subsidiary signed a 445 million Egyptian pound ($25.9 million) contract to build a substation and transmission line. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 0.3 pct at 9,304 points ABU DHABI The index fell 1.4 pct at 5,258 points DUBAI The index rose 0.3 pct at 2,767 points QATAR The index added 0.2 pct to 10,377 points EGYPT The index rose 1 pct to 14,920 points BAHRAIN The index fell 0.2 pct to 1,434 points OMAN The index rose 0.3 pct to 3,946 points KUWAIT The index added 0.1 pct at 6,047 points ($1 = 3.7501 riyals) ($1 = 17.1700 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru Editing by David Goodman)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Profit-taking hits UAE markets, Saudi inches up

29 Apr 2019

* Saudi British Bank hits 4-year high on Q1 results * Islamic Arab Insurance, Dubai Islamic weigh on Dubai * Egypt market closed due to public holiday By Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan April 29 Abu Dhabi's stock market slid on Monday, affected by profit-taking and a sell-off in its financial shares, while Saudi Arabia was the only major Gulf market to rise. The Abu Dhabi index lost 0.9 percent in its fourth straight day of declines, with energy firm Dana Gas dropping 4.1 percent and the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates, First Abu Dhabi Bank, losing 1.2 percent. Dana's stock traded ex-dividend on Thursday and has been sliding since. First Abu Dhabi Bank posted a 3.6 percent rise in first-quarter 2019 profit. "UAE markets have done well year to date and the recent weakness can be attributed to investors taking profits after the stocks go ex-dividend," Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital said. "Banks have been the driver of this performance – both FAB (First Abu Dhabi) and Emirates have delivered total returns of 40 percent so far in 2019. No surprise that they are consolidating here," Bhandari added. Dubai's index slipped 0.6 percent, partly due to a 7.2 percent decline in Islamic Arab Insurance Co and a 4.3 percent slide in Dubai Islamic Insurance And Reinsurance . Shareholders of both companies elected against a dividend distribution for 2018. Dubai Financial Market fell 2.7 percent after its first-quarter net profit nearly halved. The weakness in major Gulf markets comes amid a slump in oil prices after U.S. President Donald Trump demanded that producer club OPEC raise output to soften the impact of U.S. sanctions against Iran. "The concerns of the implications of the embargo of U.S. against Iran oil exports is weighing on the UAE market," Tariq Qaqish, MD, Asset Management Division, Mena Corp Financial Services said. Saudi Arabia's index inched up 0.1 percent, with Saudi British Bank adding 1.6 percent to touch its highest level in four years after reporting strong first-quarter results. Al Moammar Information Systems jumped 8.6 percent to lead the index's gainers. Last week, the company was the first information technology solutions provider to list on Tadawul. Qatar's blue-chip index declined 0.5 percent. Banking firms Qatar First Bank and Qatar Islamic Bank lost 2.3 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively. Egypt's stock market was closed due to a public holiday. SAUDI The index rose 0.1 pct to 9,277 points ARABIA ABU DHABI The index fell 0.9 pct at 5,332 points DUBAI The index slid 0.6 pct to 2,760 points QATAR The index dropped 0.5 pct to 10,360 points BAHRAIN The index fell 0.3 pct to 1,436 points OMAN The index was up 0.1 pct to 3,935 points KUWAIT The index fell 0.2 pct to 6,042 points (Reporting by Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Emaar, Emirates lift Dubai; petrochemicals aid Saudi

02 Apr 2019

* Emirates NBD lingers around 10-month high * Dubai's Shuaa jumps on reverse merger report * Kuwait index rises to highest level in 3 years * Mesaieed Petrochemical gains on MSCI index inclusion By Ateeq Shariff and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan April 2 Dubai's stock market rose for the fourth straight session to a four-month high on Tuesday, lifted mainly by gains in heavyweights Emaar Properties and Emirates NBD, while petrochemical stocks buoyed Saudi Arabia. The Dubai index closed 1.2 percent higher with Emaar Properties gaining 3.2 percent, while its largest lender Emirates NBD was up 2.4 percent, as one of its businesses will list on the London Stock Exchange. "Our channel checks suggest foreigners have been accumulating Emaar. Also, it seems the stock had some favourable moves on technical charts. In banking, Emirates is seeing some interest on back of the IPO of its affiliate," Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital said. "We have been positive on Dubai names since the beginning of the year, mainly on account of valuations," Bhandari said, adding that they expect the real estate market to be stable through the course of the year. Payments processor Network International said shares in its initial public offering (IPO) would be priced between 395 pence and 465p each, implying a valuation of between 1.9 billion pounds and 2.3 billion ($2.5-3.0 billion). Emirates NBD is the major shareholder in the firm, holding about 51 percent. Shuaa Capital jumped 7 percent, to its highest since mid-December 2018. Abu Dhabi Financial Group is set to take over Shuaa in a reverse merger, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday. The Saudi index was up 0.4 percent, with Saudi Basic Industries gaining 0.8 percent and National Industrialization Co climbing 4.8 percent. Oil prices hit a 2019 high above $69 a barrel, with Brent crude touching $69.50, the highest since mid-November. Saudi International Petrochemical Co rose 1.2 percent. The firm appointed Abdullah Bin Saif Al-Saadoon as its chief executive and managing director. The Egyptian blue-chip index rose 1.4 percent with Commercial International Bank adding 4.3 percent. El Sewedy Electric increased 3.1 percent. On Monday, the firm said its consortium with Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems was awarded a contract worth about $550 million from the Sharjah Electricity And Water Authority. In Qatar, the index added 0.5 percent, led by a 4.8 percent rise in Qatar Insurance, its biggest intraday gain in five months. Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding rose 3.8 percent to its highest since August 2015. The firm is eligible for inclusion in MSCI's emerging market index in May, which is expected to result in passive inflows of $230 million, Arqaam Capital said in a note on Monday. Kuwait's index rose 1 percent to its highest level since 2016, boosted by bank shares. National Bank of Kuwait added 1.1 percent and Ahli United Bank increased 1.6 percent. Abu Dhabi's index traded flat with energy firm Dana Gas rising 2.1 percent. On Sunday the company said it had received $19 million from Egypt as a part of the government's efforts to reduce monies owed to zero in 2019. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 0.4 pct to 8,935 points ABU DHABI The index was flat at 5,054 points DUBAI The index gained 1.2 pct to 2,730 points QATAR The index added 0.5 pct to 10,201 points EGYPT The index was up 1.4 pct at 15,166 points KUWAIT The index rose 1 pct to 6,064 points OMAN The index dropped 0.5 pct to 3,940 points BAHRAIN The index was up 0.2 pct at 1,404 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Heinrich)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi's SABIC loses steam, ex-dividend stocks hit Abu Dhabi

28 Mar 2019

* SABIC retreats from 5-month high * 24 of 30 stocks on Egypt index rise * Aldar, Etisalat slide on going ex-dividend * QIIB hits 3-year high after foreign ownership limit increase By Ateeq Shariff and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan March 28 Saudi Arabia's stock market rose on Thursday aided by its banks, even as Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) gave up most of its early gains spurred by news of Aramco's purchase of a large stake in the petrochemicals group. Abu Dhabi edged down as some stocks traded ex-dividend. Saudi Arabia's index was up 0.3 percent with Al Rajhi Bank adding 1 percent and National Commercial Bank rising 2 percent. Heavyweight SABIC lost 0.3 percent after gaining as much as 2.7 percent earlier in the session. The world's largest oil producer Saudi Aramco agreed to buy a 70 percent stake in the firm from the Public Investment Firm (PIF) for $69.1 billion. The blockbuster deal is likely to be a "long-term game changer" for SABIC, but has limited upside in the near term because of the muted outlook from lower petrochemical prices, Arqaam Capital said. Saudi banks and telecoms were the best performing sectors in the fourth-quarter of 2018, but results were below expectations due to petrochemical firms missing earnings estimates by 41 percent and consumer names reporting 62 percent below forecasts, SICO research said in a note. The Abu Dhabi index dipped 0.2 percent, led by a 5.7 percent drop in Aldar Properties and a 0.8 percent slide in Emirates Telecommunications Group as they traded ex-dividend. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank also shed 1.5 percent after trading ex-dividend. The Egyptian blue-chip index gained 0.8 percent, led by a 1.8 percent increase in Egypt's largest lender Commercial International Bank and a 2.2 percent rise in Eastern Company. EFG Hermes closed 1.7 percent higher after its unit divested a 49 percent stake in wind energy projects across four European countries. Dubai's index increased 0.7 percent with Dubai Islamic Bank, the United Arab Emirates' largest sharia-compliant lender, gaining 2.5 percent and the country's largest lender Emirates NBD adding 0.5 percent. Network International Holdings said that global payments giant Mastercard will make a $300 million investment in its planned initial public offering. Emirates NBD owns a 51 percent stake in the company, which is the largest payments processor in the Middle East and Africa. The Qatar index gained 0.4 percent with market heavyweight Industries Qatar increasing 1.4 percent and Qatar Gas Transport rising 4 percent. The latter said it has established a joint venture with Maran Ventures in which it will hold a 60 percent stake. Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) rose 3.2 percent, reaching its highest since November 2015. On Monday, the lender's shareholders approved an increase in its foreign ownership limit to 49 percent from 25 percent. SAUDI ARABIA The index added 0.3 pct to 8,789 points ABU DHABI The index lost 0.2 pct to 5,101 points DUBAI The index rose 0.7 pct to 2,631 points QATAR The index was up 0.4 pct at 10,146 points EGYPT The index gained 0.8 pct to 14,666 points KUWAIT The index edged up 0.1 pct to 5,958 points OMAN The index dropped 1 pct to 4,006 points BAHRAIN The index was flat at 1,414 points ($1 = 3.7502 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Blue-chips lift Qatar, Banks boost Saudi

27 Mar 2019

* 18 of 20 stocks on Qatar index rise * Qatar's Mesaieed at its highest in 5-months * Kingdom holding, Saudi Telecom gain after Careem deal * Egypt's GTH slides after extending maturity of credit facility By Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Ateeq Shariff March 27 Qatar's stock market rose on Wednesday, lifted by shareholder approval for an increase in foreign ownership limits at Qatar Fuel and Mesaieed Petrochemical, while Saudi Arabia rose on the back of its banks. The Qatar index rose 1.7 percent, with 18 of 20 stocks increasing. Qatar Fuel added 4.2 percent and Mesaieed Petrochemical was up 5.8 percent. Last year, their parent company, state-owned energy firm, Qatar Petroleum said it would raise the foreign ownership limit in its listed-units to up to 49 percent after limits on foreign ownership were amended. The increase in foreign ownership limit was approved by the companies' shareholders in their annual general meeting. Qatar Fuel and Mesaieed could also be included in the MSCI emerging market index in May, which will bring in passive inflows of $231 million and $197 million, respectively, Arqaam Capital said in a note. "This is primarily local as well as global investors, taking an active allocation in the names prior to their index inclusions and given the lack of liquidity in some of these names, this has led to the significant rally in prices," said Rami Jamal, portfolio manager at Amwal in Doha. Qatar International Islamic Bank rose 1.4 percent. On Monday, the lender's shareholders also approved an increase in its foreign ownership limit to 49 percent from 25 percent. Saudi Arabia's index added 1 percent with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 2.3 percent and National Commercial Bank , the country's largest lender, rising 2.9 percent. Kingdom Holding and Saudi Telecom rose as they benefited from Uber's deal to buy Middle East's Careem. Kingdom Holding increased 0.7 percent after selling its stake in the ride-hailing app for 1.25 billion riyals ($333.31 million), while Saudi Telecom rose 0.4 percent after saying it expects to receive around $274 million from the deal. Last week, Saudi entered FTSE Russell's emerging-market index, and this year will join the MSCI emerging market benchmark. Foreign investors in the Saudi market seem to have increased again as the first phase of its inclusion appeared to go seamlessly and as foreign investor concerns over locals oversupplying the market appear to have partially abated, Arqaam Capital said. The Egyptian blue-chip index dropped 0.6 percent, led by a 2.2 percent decline in Egypt's largest lender Commercial International Bank and a 4.5 percent fall in El Sewedy Electric. Global Telecom Holding fell 3.1 percent. The telecom operator said its board extended maturity of its $100 million revolving credit facility from VEON. Madinet Nasr slipped 2.8 percent. The firm approved the sale of its non-residential land plot for 184.8 million Egyptian pounds ($10.69 million). The Abu Dhabi index slipped 0.3 percent with the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank losing 0.8 percent and Emirates Telecommunications Group dropping 0.2 percent. Dubai's index was flat, with its largest listed-developer Emaar Properties sliding 1.7 percent. SAUDI ARABIA The index was up 1 pct at 8,766 points ABU DHABI The index fell 0.3 pct to 5,109 points DUBAI The index was flat at 2,614 points QATAR The index gained 1.7 pct to 10,105 points EGYPT The index was down 0.6 pct at 14,555 points KUWAIT The index rose 0.9 pct to 5,951 points OMAN The index edged down 0.1 pct to 4,047 points BAHRAIN The index added 0.4 pct to 1,413 points ($1 = 3.7503 riyals) ($1 = 17.2800 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Gareth Jones)

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