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Ateeq Shariff

MIDEAST STOCKS-Blue-chip sell-off dents Egypt, most major Gulf markets fall

03 Oct 2019

* Financial stocks weak in Egypt * Sipchem plunges as it went ex-dividend * Abu Dhabi extends losses for the fourth day * All property stocks retreat in Dubai but one By Ateeq Shariff and Shamsuddin Mohd Oct 3 The Egyptian blue-chip index fell sharply on Thursday, pressured by banks amid weak global sentiment, while most major Gulf markets ended lower on falling oil prices. The benchmark oil price slipped further below $58 a barrel on Thursday on concerns about global economic growth, oil demand and signs of excess supply despite OPEC-led cuts. Egypt's blue-chip index declined 1.1% with the country's largest lender Commercial International Bank dipping 0.4%, while EFG Hermes was down 2.6%. Activity in Egypt's non-oil private sector rose fractionally in September but remained in contraction territory for the second consecutive month, a survey showed on Thursday. Saudi Arabia's index lost 0.8% with Al Rajhi Bank down 1.1% and Sahara International Petrochemical (Sipchem) plunging 5% as the stock traded ex-dividend. On Monday, government data showed that Saudi Arabia's economy slowed sharply in the second quarter as the world's largest crude exporter cut oil output, raising fears of an economic contraction this year. In Qatar, the main share index ended 0.5% lower, driven down by a 1.4% fall in Qatar Islamic Bank and a 0.6% slip in Qatar National Bank. Qatar's economy contracted by 1.4% in the second quarter compared to a year earlier, hurt by a drop in the manufacturing and construction sectors. In Abu Dhabi, the index slipped 0.1%, extending losses for a fourth straight session as market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank dropped 0.7%. "MENA markets are reacting to the weak global lead and falling oil prices. It is interesting to see Dubai holding up better, especially the Emaar names after a bad start to the quarter," said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. "Historically, the fourth quarter has been generally a negative one for UAE markets – explained by local institutions wanting to book profits and come back in the new year with fresh capital allocations prior to the dividend season." He added that the market mantra is to selectively pick stocks as there were not many broad themes. With third quarter results set to begin this will allow a fresh look at the underlying fundamentals and the industry landscape. In Dubai, the index rose 0.6%, led by real estate stocks. Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties increased 2.3%, while its unit Emaar Malls was up 2.2%. SAUDI ARABIA The index fell 0.8% to 7,921 points ABU DHABI The index edged down 0.1% to 5,028 points DUBAI The index rose 0.6% to 2,761 points QATAR The index slid 0.5% to 10,311 points EGYPT The index down 1.1% to 14,218 points BAHRAIN The index lost 0.1% to 1,513 points OMAN The index was flat at 4,026 points KUWAIT The index was also flat at 6,119 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff and Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai leads losses as Gulf tracks decline in global markets

02 Oct 2019

* Entire real estate sector slides in Dubai * Emaar hits its lowest in 3 months * All Saudi Arabian banks decline * 26 of 30 stocks drop in Egypt By Ateeq Shariff and Shamsuddin Mohd Oct 2 Middle East stocks fell on Wednesday, mirroring a decline in global shares, with Dubai particularly hard hit as property companies declined sharply. Global equity markets dropped after data showed the U.S. manufacturing sector contracted in September to its weakest level in more than a decade as business conditions deteriorated further amid trade tensions between China and the United States. Manufacturing activity in the euro zone also shrank at its steepest rate in almost seven years last month, according to a survey on Tuesday that suggested there would not be a turnaround any time soon. In Dubai, the index closed 1.3% lower, extending losses for a second session with all its real estate stocks tumbling. Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties plunged 4.8% to its lowest level since June 27, while its unit Emaar Malls was down 1.6%. A Reuters poll in September showed that Dubai property prices have slumped 25%-35% since mid-2014 and that analysts expect a further downtrend this year and next amid a slowing economy and an oversupply of housing units. Saudi Arabia's share index dropped 0.9% with all banks in the index slipping, including Al Rajhi Bank which fell 1.1%. Saudi Telecom dropped 2.4%. Saudi Arabia's economy slowed sharply in the second quarter amid oil output cuts by the world's largest crude exporter, government data showed on Monday, raising fears of an economic contraction this year. On Monday, Fitch downgraded Saudi Arabia's credit rating to A from A+, citing rising geopolitical and military tensions in the Gulf following an attack on Saudi oil facilities and a deterioration of the kingdom's fiscal position. The Saudi finance ministry said in a statement that the decision by Fitch was "swift" and did not reflect Riyadh's actions to maintain global oil supplies. It asked the rating agency to reconsider its downgrade. Egypt' blue-chip index slid 0.8% with 26 of the 30 stocks declining. Eastern Company shed 2.7%, while El Sewedy Electric tumbled 4.4%. Egyptians were net sellers of stocks, bourse data showed. In Qatar, the index retreated 0.7% with market heavyweight Industries Qatar losing 1.4% and Mesaieed petrochemical dropping 2.4%. Abu Dhabi's index lost 0.5%, extending losses for a third straight day. Emirates Telecommunications Group declined 1.3% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank was down 1.8%. SAUDI ARABIA The index declined 0.9% to 7,984 points ABU DHABI The index lost 0.5% to 5,031 points DUBAI The index dropped 1.3% to 2,744 points QATAR The index slid 0.7% to 10,360 points EGYPT The index down 0.8% to 14,381 points BAHRAIN The index fell 0.1% to 1,514 points OMAN The index slipped 0.3% to 4,025 points KUWAIT The index was down 0.7% at 6,120 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff and Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Financials lead Egypt higher as banks weigh on Saudi

01 Oct 2019

* All financial stocks gain in Egypt * Saudi's Metlife extends losses on merger deal * Qatar snaps three-day losing streak * Amlak sees biggest surge in over four years By Ateeq Shariff Oct 1 A rebound in financial shares boosted Egypt's blue-chip stock index on Tuesday, a day after it took a breather to snap three straight days of gains, while Saudi Arabia reversed early gains as most of its banks declined. Egypt's blue-chip index gained 1.7% with its largest bank, Commercial International Bank, leaping 3.1% and El Sewedy Electric increasing 2.3%. Egypt's M2 money supply growth accelerated to 11.78% year-on-year in August, Reuters reported on Tuesday citing data from the central bank. The money supply stood at 3.93 trillion Egyptian pounds ($242.29 billion) as of the end of August from 3.88 trillion pounds at the end of July. Saudi Arabia's index dropped 0.5% with most of its banks on the index sliding. Al Rajhi Bank decreased 0.6% and Riyad Bank declined 2.1%. Metlife AIG ANB plunged 4.7% to be the top loser on the index. Walaa Cooperative Insurance said on Sunday it had a binding agreement to acquire Metlife in an all-share deal. Saudi Arabia's economy slowed sharply in the second quarter amid oil output cuts by the world's largest crude exporter, government data showed on Monday, raising fears of an economic contraction this year. The kingdom last contracted in 2017 before recovering to 2.2% growth last year, helped by strong oil output. Qatar's index closed 0.7% higher, ending three straight days of losses. Qatar Islamic Bank added 1.5% and Commercial Bank climbed 2.6%. Rating agency Moody's said last week the outlook for Qatar's banking sector remained stable as infrastructure spending drives economic growth. In Dubai, the index edged 0.1% down led by a 0.6% fall in Dubai Islamic Bank and a 2.3% slide in Dubai Investments. Amlak Finance soared 14.8%, however, its biggest rise since June 2015. The sharia-compliant finance company said it has been awarded 780 million dirhams ($212.37 million) in a court ruling against an arbitration being administrated since 2013. The Abu Dhabi index also ended 0.1% lower, with Emirates Telecommunications losing 0.7% and Aldar Properties down 1.9%. The consumer price index (CPI) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) fell 2.04% in August compared to a year earlier, according to government statistics published on Tuesday. SAUDI ARABIA The index fell 0.5% to 8,053 points ABU DHABI The index lost 0.1% to 5,054 points DUBAI The index slipped 0.1% to 2,779 points QATAR The index rose 0.7% to 10,435 points EGYPT The index up 1.7% to 14,497 points BAHRAIN The index dropped 0.1% to 1,516 points OMAN The index added 0.5% to 4,036 points KUWAIT The index was down 0.2% at 6,161 points ($1 = 3.7511 riyals) ($1 = 3.6400 Qatar riyals) ($1 = 3.6729 UAE dirham) ($1 = 16.2200 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt recovers some losses; Saudi loses momentum

25 Sep 2019

* Egypt snaps eight-day losing streak * 29 of 30 stocks rise on EGX 30 * Nine of 11 Saudi banks slide * Financials strong in Qatar By Ateeq Shariff and Shamsuddin Mohd Sept 25 Egyptian stocks closed on a positive note on Wednesday, recovering some losses from the previous sessions, while Saudi retreated amid falling oil prices on the backdrop of global political uncertainty. Egypt's blue-chip index rebounded sharply to close 3.2% higher, snapping an eight-session losing streak, with 29 out of 30 stocks on the index rising. The country's largest lender, Commercial International Bank , jumped 5%, while Eastern Company advanced 4.7%. Exchange data showed foreign investors were net buyers of the stocks. The index had lost over 10% in the previous three sessions following protests that broke out in several Egyptian cities over the weekend. Egyptian authorities rounded up more than 400 people in response to the protests, against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and security forces stepped up their presence in central Cairo, human rights monitors said on Monday. Meanwhile, Saudi's index slipped 0.5%, ending four straight days of gains with Samba Financial Group declining 2.8% and Banque Saudi Fransi closing 3.5% lower. The index gained momentum in previous sessions as Saudi stocks were due on Monday to join the FTSE Russell index in their fourth of eventual five tranches and the S&P Dow Jones index in the second and final phase. But investors offloaded risky bets following an impeachment inquiry launched against U.S. President Donald Trump, stoking political uncertainty in the world's largest economy. Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday launched a formal impeachment inquiry into accusations that Trump sought foreign help to smear Democratic rival Joe Biden ahead of next year's election. A drop in Saudi crude loadings in September also weighed on investor sentiments. Saudi Arabia's crude exports fell steeply following the Sept. 14 attacks and remain lower month-on-month, according to export figures, a tangible sign that supplies to the market are being curbed even as production recovers. In Qatar, the index closed 1.2% higher, ending a four-day losing streak. Gulf's largest lender, Qatar National Bank, added 1.2% and Qatar Islamic Bank < QISB.QA> increased 1.5%. Rating agency Moody's on Tuesday said the outlook for Qatar's banking sector remained stable as infrastructure spending drives economic growth. Abu Dhabi's index edged up 0.2%, with market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank gaining 0.8% and Emirates Telecommunications Group adding 0.6%. Dubai's index traded flat as gains in financial shares were offset by declines in real estate. Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties was down 0.6%, while Dubai Islamic Bank was up 0.8%. SAUDI ARABIA The index fell 0.5% to 8,030 points ABU DHABI The index gained 0.2% to 5,088 points DUBAI The index was flat at 2,802 points QATAR The index advanced 1.2% to 10,441 points EGYPT The index climbed 3.2% to 13,595 points BAHRAIN The index traded flat at 1,520 points OMAN The index edged up 0.1% to 4,022 points KUWAIT The index was flat at 6,264 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt extends losses amid uncertainty over protests

23 Sep 2019

* EGX 100 hits its lowest in over 2 years * All but one property stocks gain in Dubai * Most financial shares slide in Qatar By Ateeq Shariff and Shamsuddin Mohd Sept 23 Egyptian stocks closed lower on Monday, stretching last session's sharp fall following protests which broke out in several Egyptian cities over the weekend. On Friday, hundreds of people rallied in central Cairo and several other Egyptian cities against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, responding to an online call for a demonstration against government corruption. Egyptian authorities have detained at least 373 people as they try to quash the rare outbreak of protest, rights monitors said on Monday. The blue-chip stock index fell 1.5% with Commercial International Bank declining 3.5% and Talaat Mostafa Holding plunging 7.6%. The fall added to the index's previous session loss of 5.3%, its biggest single-day fall since mid-2016 with all its stocks slipping into the red. Non-Arab foreigners were net sellers, according to the stock exchange. The broader stock index EGX 100 also traded 1.7% lower, hitting its deepest trough since April 2017. The EGX 100 index slumped 5.7% on Sunday, the most in one day since November 2012, causing trading to be suspended due to a 5% swing for the first time since 2016. In Dubai, the index snapped a four-day losing streak to rise 0.7%, led by property and banking stocks. Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties gained 1.1% and Dubai Islamic Bank added 1%. Property developer Deyaar Development advanced 1.2% after an update on a court judgement in a land purchase dispute that came in favour of the company. Abu Dhabi's index was down 0.9%, with market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank slipping 1.4% and Emirates Telecommunications Group dropping 1.1%. Extending losses for a fourth straight day, Qatar's index ended 0.8% lower with the Gulf’s largest insurer Qatar Insurance Company declining 4.5%, while Mesaieed Petrochemical was down 3.3%. Saudi Arabia's stock market was closed for National Day. ABU DHABI The index lost 0.9% to 5,075 points DUBAI The index was up 0.7% at 2,835 points QATAR The index slid 0.8% to 10,363 points EGYPT The index down 1.5% to 13,753 points BAHRAIN The index added 0.5% to 1,519 points OMAN The index gained 1% to 4,007 points KUWAIT The index rose 1.1% to 6,254 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff and Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Heinrich)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks gain ahead of joining FTSE Russel and S&P Dow Jones indexes

19 Sep 2019

* Saudi's petchems rise after feedstock supply improves * Bank Albilad sees biggest gain in 4 years * Most of financial shares slide in Abu Dhabi * Telecom shares weigh on Qatar * Real estate and banks move sideways in Egypt By Ateeq Shariff and Shamsuddin Mohd Sept 19 Saudi Arabia's stock market rose sharply on Thursday ahead of their inclusion in FTSE Russell and S&P Dow Jones emerging market indexes next week, which are expected to attract billions of dollars in passive funds. Saudi stocks will see fourth tranche inclusion in FTSE Russell and the second and final tranche entry into S&P Dow Jones as an emerging market starting on September 23. Saudi stocks initially joined the two indexes earlier this year. The market was also supported by news that Saudi oil supply was uninterrupted despite weekend attacks on the kingdom's oil facilities and by a cut in Saudi interest rates. Saudi Arabia said it continues to supply oil to its customers from its stockpiles and the attacks would have "zero impact" on government revenues. The Saudi index ended 1.4% higher with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 2% and Bank Albilad surging 8%, its biggest intraday gain since August 2015. The central banks of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which peg their currencies to the U.S. dollar, cut interest rates on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve lowered U.S. rates, which Saudi officials said should help the country's banks by boost lending. Petrochemical stocks also rose, extending their gains from Wednesday after saying their feedstock supplies from Aramco had significantly improved. Saudi Basic Industries climbed 2%, while Saudi Arabia Fertilizers leapt 5.5%. However, the tensions in Middle East weighed on other regional markets after Saudi Arabia presented what it called "undeniable" evidence of Iranian links to the Aramco attacks. In Abu Dhabi, the index eased 0.6%, with the country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank losing 0.8% and Abu Dhabi Commercial bank shedding 2.5%. Qatar's index was down 0.3%, led by a 6.5% plunge in Ooredoo and a 2.2% drop in Masraf Al Rayan. In Dubai, the index slipped 0.1%, extending losses for a third-day consecutively. Dubai Islamic Bank, the United Arab Emirates' largest sharia-compliant lender, lost 1.9% and Emirates NBDDU> ended 1.1% lower. Egypt's blue-chip index traded flat as gains in the real estate sector were marred by financial shares. Talaat Mostafa hiked 3.9%, while Commercial International Bank dropped 0.9%. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 1.4% to 7,927 points ABU DHABI The index lost 0.6% to 5,125 points DUBAI The index slipped 0.1% to 2,820 points QATAR The index slid 0.3% to 10,512 points EGYPT The index was flat at 14,742 points BAHRAIN The index edged up 0.1% to 1,490 points OMAN The index declined 0.6% to 3,992 points KUWAIT The index was up 1.3% at 6,010 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff and Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru, Editing by William Maclean)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks stumble as Aramco oil supply disruption felt

17 Sep 2019

* SABIC slides as goes ex-dividend * All property shares slide in Dubai * 26 of 30 stocks on Egypt index fall * Financial shares weak in Qatar By Ateeq Shariff and Shamsuddin Mohd Sept 17 Saudi Arabian shares fell on Tuesday, with petrochemical stocks under pressure after the weekend attacks on Saudi Aramco's oil facilities disrupted the kingdom's oil supply. Saudi Arabia's stock index declined 0.7%, with the Gulf's largest petrochemical firm Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) dropping 3.2% as the firm traded ex-dividend. In addition, SABIC and other petrochemicals firms announced significant reductions in their feedstock supplies following Saturday's attacks on the Aramco facilities. Saudi Arabia has shut down its crude oil pipeline to Bahrain and Aramco informed PetroChina that its loadings of light crude oil for October will be delayed by about 10 days. Moreover, at least two refined product tankers that were due to load at Saudi Arabia's Jubail port in mid to late September have been diverted. Saudi Aramco is pressing ahead with meetings with bankers this week over its planned domestic listing, sources told Reuters although some investors and analysts doubt it can now meet its timeline after the weekend attacks. Among other Saudi stocks, Riyad Bank and National Commercial Bank were down 3.7% and 0.9% respectively. Among other Middle East markets, Egypt's blue-chip index dropped 1.5%, with 26 of thirty stocks declining. The country's largest lender Commercial International Bank shed 0.5% and Qalaa Holdings plunged 7.9%. In Dubai, the index lost 1%, led by blue-chip developer Emaar Properties which was down 3%, while Dubai Islamic Bank closed 0.9% lower. Dubai house prices will decline sharply this year and next, according to property market experts in a Reuters poll conducted earlier in September. The experts said a slowdown in the economy and an oversupply of housing units are big downside risks to their already weak outlook. Property prices have contracted by 25-35% since a mid-2014 peak and there will be no respite until 2022 at least, the poll showed. While a recently announced government stimulus package could spur a recovery in the real estate market, the chances are high an over-supply of housing units would hurt prices and demand. Qatar's index slipped 0.4%, driven down by a 1.4% fall in Qatar Islamic Bank and a 2.7% drop in Qatar Insurance Company. In Abu Dhabi, the index edged up 0.2%, with the United Arab Emirates' largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank gaining 1%. SAUDI ARABIA The index fell 0.7% to 7,771 points ABU DHABI The index edged up 0.2% to 5,171 points DUBAI The index dropped 1% to 2,850 points QATAR The index slid 0.4% to 10,471 points EGYPT The index down 1.5% to 14,752 points BAHRAIN The index lost 0.7% to 1,514 points OMAN The index slipped 0.2% to 4,001 points KUWAIT The index was down 0.5% at 6,070 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff and Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Emirates NBD's gains support Dubai, Egypt up on financials

05 Sep 2019

* Emirates NBD extends rally on foreign ownership * All but one property shares slide in Dubai * Emaar falls for the third straight session * Financials strong in Egypt By Ateeq Shariff Sept 5 The Dubai stock market rose on Thursday, mainly helped by its largest lender Emirates NBD, while Egypt rebounded on the back of financials. Dubai's index closed 0.4% up, with Emirates NBD increasing 1.5% and Dubai Islamic Bank, the United Arab Emirates’ largest sharia-compliant lender, adding 0.6%. Emirates NBD has been rising since Monday after it raised its foreign ownership limit to 20% from 5%. But developers capped the gains with Emaar Properties , the emirate's largest listed developer, sliding 0.8% extending losses for a third day in a row. The realtor's chairman said on Wednesday he did not expect a change in the company's business after Dubai's ruler set up a new real estate committee to regulate and control market supply. Dubai's property prices have contracted by 25-35% since a mid-2014 peak and will continue to decline sharply this year and next, as a slowdown in the economy and an oversupply of housing units pose big downside risks to already weak outlook of real estate sector in the Emirate, a Reuters poll showed. The Egyptian blue-chip index was up 0.6% with its biggest bank, Commercial International Bank, rising 1.6%, while Eastern Company advancing 3.3%. Last month, Egypt reported its lowest headline inflation rate in nearly four years, and its central bank cut interest rates by 150 basis points on Thursday. Egypt's index is up 14.6% so far this year, beating most regional markets. The Saudi index slipped 0.1%, driven down by a 0.9% fall in market heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries and a 1% drop in Saudi Telecom Company. Saudi Arabia may have to revise down economic growth estimates as lower crude output and tumbling oil prices take their toll on economic activity, with some economists forecasting a contraction this year in the world's biggest oil exporter, Reuters reported on Wednesday. The Saudi central bank forecast economic growth of at least 2% this year but economists now expect marginal growth at best or a slight shrinkage, its second in two years. The Abu Dhabi index lost 0.2% as Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank ended 1.5% lower. Qatar's index also ended lower to close at 0.4% down with Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's largest lender by assets, falling 1.2% and Qatar Islamic Bank down 1%. SAUDI ARABIA The index slipped 0.1% to 8,055 points ABU DHABI The index lost 0.2% to 5,114 points DUBAI The index gained 0.4% to 2,891 points QATAR The index slid 0.4% to 10,253 points EGYPT The index up 0.6% to 14,933 points BAHRAIN The index added 0.6% to 1,551 points OMAN The index dropped 0.3% to 3,998 points KUWAIT The index was flat at 6,547 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks boost Saudi index; wide sell-off weighs on Egypt

04 Sep 2019

* Saudi index sees biggest gain in nearly 3 months * All Saudi lenders ended higher * In Egypt 23 of thirty stocks slide * Emirates NBD extends gains on foreign ownership * Qatar ends four-day winning streak By Ateeq Shariff Sept 4 Saudi Arabia's stock market rose sharply on Wednesday, with all its banks gaining amid advancing oil prices on positive news from China's services sector, while Egypt's index ended lower as most of its blue-chip stocks dropped. Oil prices were up boosted by a wider market pickup, after three days of losses on lingering concern about a weakening global economy. Global markets rebounded after a private survey showed that activity in China's services sector expanded at the fastest pace in three months in August as new orders rose, prompting the biggest increase in hiring in over a year. In Saudi, the index advanced 1.7%, for its biggest intraday gain since June 10. Al Rajhi Bank was up 2.7% and National Commercial Bank, the country's largest lender, surged 4.7%. Saudi gym network operator Leejam Sports gained 0.6% after it announced a 0.5 riyal ($0.1333) per share dividend for the second quarter. Egypt's blue-chip index dropped 1.1%, with 23 of thirty stocks declining. The country's largest lender Commercial International Bank fell 0.7% and Talat Mostafa climbed 3.2%. Palm Hills Development added 1.3% after the firm reported a higher second quarter profit. In Dubai the index edged up 0.1%, changing its course to close higher, with Emirates NBD gaining 0.7%, extending its gains for a third day in a row. On Monday, the lender had soared 14.9%, reaching its highest level since October 2007, following the bank's announcement it would raise foreign ownership limit to 20% from 5% with immediate effect. The lender also said it intends to raise that limit to 40% in future. Arabtec Holding ended 1.7% higher, the top gainer on the index, after the developer said it is willing to explore possibility of entering into a cooperation agreement in construction sector with Trojan Holding. In a separate disclosure to the bourse the firm also announced appointment of Wail Farsakh as chief operating officer. However, major stocks in real estate division capped the gains with Emaar Properties shedding 0.2% and DAMAC Properties losing 1%. On Monday, Dubai set up a real estate planning commission to regulate projects and avoid competition between semi-government and private firms, in a move designed to address the property market slump. Heavy oversupply in the property market, an important sector of Dubai's economy, has seen residential prices slide by at least a quarter since mid-2014. The Abu Dhabi index added 0.4% led by a 0.9% rise in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 1.4% gain in Aldar Properties In Qatar, the index edged down 0.1%, to snap a four-day winning streak, with market heavyweight Industries Qatar declining 1.5%. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 1.7% to 8,058 points ABU DHABI The index gained 0.4% to 5,125 points DUBAI The index edged up 0.1% to 2,880 points QATAR The index slid 0.1% to 10,295 points EGYPT The index down 1.1% to 14,841 points BAHRAIN The index lost 0.1% to 1,542 points OMAN The index slipped 0.1% to 4,012 points KUWAIT The index was down 0.2% at 6,546 points ($1 = 3.7498 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Frances Kerry)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks slide as funds turn bearish

28 Aug 2019

* All Saudi banks fall * Egypt hits 4-month high * Financials boost Egypt * Emaar aids Dubai By Ateeq Shariff Aug 28 Saudi Arabia's stock market fell sharply on Wednesday with all its banking shares dropping as receding fund inflows dampened investor appetite on a day when second phase of Saudi stocks joined the MSCI emerging markets index. EFG Hermes said in a note on Wednesday the investment case for Saudi banks is no longer 'compelling' in their view on the backdrop of receding passive flows, rates becoming a headwind, and the emergence of credit quality concerns. "We think Saudi can drift lower, before finding a support above the 8k mark. Stock picking would be the name of the game hereon and companies that deliver good results shall outperform the broader Index," said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. Sixty percent of fund mangers said they would decrease their investments in Saudi Arabia, displaying bearishness that has carried over from last month. The Saudi index declined 1.4% with Al Rajhi Bank losing 2% and the country's largest lender National Commercial Bank decreasing 2.4%. A second batch of Saudi shares was added to the MSCI emerging markets index on Wednesday after the country's stocks were first included in the index in May. "Saudi Arabia has attracted $18 billion in foreign portfolio equity inflows so far this year, as foreign investors have significantly increased their exposure to Saudi equities ahead of upgrade," the Institute Of International Finance (IIF) said in a note. IIF added that inflows to Saudi Arabia would have been even higher if not for concerns about global trade and the escalation of regional tensions. Egypt's blue-chip index surged 2.2%, to reach its highest level since May, as most of its shares traded in green territory. Commercial International Bank jumped 4.3% and EFG Hermes was up 6.3%. Middle Eastern funds plan to increase their investments in Egypt and UAE and decrease allocations in Saudi Arabia, while keeping their exposure to other countries in the region at current levels, according to a Reuters poll. In Dubai, the index added 0.2% with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties increasing 1%. Qatari index and Abu Dhabi's index traded flat. In the previous session the duo had risen 2.5% and 2.7% respectively. "It is interesting that both UAE & Qatar saw net foreign inflows yesterday, when the MSCI rebalancing lowered the weights of these markets," Bhandari said. SAUDI ARABIA The index dropped 1.4% to 8,171 points ABU DHABI The index was flat at 5,129 points DUBAI The index rose 0.2% to 2,758 points QATAR The index traded flat at 10,025 points EGYPT The index up 2.2% to 14,596 points BAHRAIN The index lost 0.2% to 1,534 points OMAN The index gained 0.5% to 3,973 points KUWAIT The index was up 0.2% at 6,542 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Frances Kerry)

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