Edition:
United Kingdom

Maqsood Alam

MIDEAST STOCKS-Financials lift UAE indexes, poor earnings weigh on Egypt

14 Nov 2019

* Emirates NBD lifts Dubai * Lender FAB supports Abu Dhabi * Telecom Egypt drops on lower Q3 Profit * Seven of 11 Saudi banks slip By Maqsood Alam Nov 14 Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates rose on Thursday, lifted by banking shares, while a host of disappointing corporate earnings weighed on Egypt's bourse. Egypt's blue-chip index was down 0.4% with foreigners net sellers, according to Egyptian stock exchange data. Telecom Egypt fell 1.4% as a drop in third-quarter profit weighed on the stock. Alexandria Mineral Oils fell 4.9%, down for a fourth consecutive session. On Wednesday, the oil company reported an 87% plunge in first-quarter profit Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals Company and Madinet Nasr For Housing And Development lost 4.5% and 2.2% respectively after reporting lower nine-month profit earlier this week. Dubai’s index closed 1.9% higher with its largest lender Emirates NBD surging 5.9% after it sold shares in Network International Holdings for 160 million pounds ($204.74 million). Dubai Islamic Bank added 1.5%. The Abu Dhabi index advanced 1.3% with First Abu Dhabi Bank rising 2.9% and telecoms operator Etisalat gaining 0.4%. Qatar's index was up 0.8% with the Gulf's largest lender Qatar National Bank and Qatar Fuel both increasing 1.9%. Saudi Arabia's index edged down 0.1% with seven of its 11 banks falling. Banque Saudi Fransi lost 2.7%, while Saudi British Bank dropped 2.1%. Taiba Investments slipped 1.9% as it traded ex-dividend. SAUDI ARABIA The index edged down 0.1% to 7,924 points ABU DHABI The index rose 1.3% to 5,138 points DUBAI The index rose 1.9% to 2,701 points QATAR The index was up 0.8% to 10,363 points EGYPT The index fell 0.4% to 14,546 points BAHRAIN The index was down 0.4 to 1,505 points OMAN The index was up 0.4% to 4,084 points KUWAIT The index edged down 0.2 to 6,254 points (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks fall as most of Gulf markets rise

13 Oct 2019

* Bank shares slip on Saudi market * But Qatar banks rise, boosting main index * Arabtec jumps on Trojan merger plan * Lender CIB leads losses in Egyptian blue chips By Maqsood Alam and Shamsuddin Mohd Oct 13 Saudi Arabian stocks fell on Sunday led by banks, while most Gulf markets gained, mirroring Friday's surge in global peers after talks between the United States and China progressed towards a resolution of their trade war. Saudi Arabia's index retreated 0.8%. The kingdom's largest lender National Commercial Bank and Riyad Bank dropped 2.4% and 2.3%, respectively, ahead of company earnings season starting this week. The banking stocks also fell as the Saudi central bank said on Sunday that financial institutions in Saudi Arabia should hire Saudi nationals for leading positions and, if they hire foreigners, they will have to explain the reason to the regulator. The Saudi bourse's main index has fallen in eight of nine sessions this month, leaving it down 2.5% year to date. It had gained more than 20% in the first four months of 2019 in the run up to joining the MSCI and FTSE emerging-market indexes, which helped attract billions of dollars from passive funds. However, escalating trade tensions, volatile oil prices and growing geopolitical risks have hit the market since then and kept active emerging market funds from investing in the kingdom. But gains in banking stocks boosted the Qatar index which rose 0.6% with Masraf Al Rayan up 1.4%, and Qatar National Bank adding a further 0.3% to the previous session's gain after posting an increase in nine-month net profit. Dubai's main share index was up 0.5%, led by a 2 % rise in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties. Contractor Arabtec Holding surged 8.9% after hiring an adviser on a potential merger with another construction firm Trojan Holding, Reuters reported citing sources. In Abu Dhabi, the index edged up 0.3%. International Holding Company climbed 8.8% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank rose 0.8%. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index was down 0.6% with market heavyweight Commercial International Bank declining 1%. However, steel makers Ezz Steel and Egyptian Iron And Steel both closed up 2.2% and 1.4% respectively, buoyed by Egypt imposing temporary import fees of 16% on iron billets and 25% on steel rebar for three years, a move designed to boost local production. SAUDI ARABIA The index was down 0.8% to 7,631 points ABU DHABI The index was up 0.3% to 5,088 points DUBAI The index rose 0.5% to 2,824 points QATAR The index was up 0.6% to 10,285 points EGYPT The index fell 0.6% to 14,220 points BAHRAIN The index was down 0.2% to 1,520 points OMAN The index was flat at 4,012 points KUWAIT The index was up 0.2% to 6,226 points (Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd and Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egyptian stocks gain after inflation data, Saudi extends losses

10 Oct 2019

* Saudi Arabia falls for a fourth day * Lender CIB supports Egypt * Banks, petchems weigh on Saudi * QNB rises on 9-month profit rise By Maqsood Alam and Shamsuddin Mohd Oct 10 Egyptian blue-chip stocks rose on Thursday after data showed consumer price inflation dropping to its lowest level in almost seven years, while Saudi Arabia fell for a fourth straight session. Egypt's annual urban consumer price inflation slowed to 4.8% in September from 7.5% in August, clearing the way for the central bank to cut interest rates further after two consecutive months of easing. Inflation has been slowing in recent months as Egypt approaches the end of an IMF-backed economic reform programme that saw the annual inflation rate rise to 33% during 2017. Egypt's blue-chip index closed 0.8% higher with market heavyweight Commercial International Bank rising 0.3% and Cairo for Investment and Real Estate Development adding 3.9%. Stock exchange data showed that foreign investors were net-buyers of Egyptian stocks. In Saudi Arabia, the benchmark index slipped 0.3%. Al Rajhi Bank dropped 1.2%, while the world's fourth largest chemical maker Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) was down 0.8%. Saudi Arabia told OPEC that its oil production in September fell by 660,000 barrels per day (bpd) compared with August to 9.13 million bpd in the wake of attacks on its energy installations. However, secondary sources put last month's production at just 8.56 million bpd, OPEC's monthly report showed. Mid-September attacks targeted two of state oil giant Saudi Aramco's plants, knocking out half of the kingdom's oil production. Abu Dhabi's index closed 0.4% higher led by a 0.8% rise in blue-chip lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 1% gain in Aldar Properties . In Qatar, the index was up 0.3%. Qatar National Bank climbed 1.2% after the Gulf's biggest lender reported a 4% increase in nine-month net profit, broadly in line with analyst estimates. In Dubai, the index traded flat with developer Emaar Properties increasing 1.1%. SAUDI ARABIA The index was down 0.3% to 7,695 points ABU DHABI The index was up 0.4% to 5,073 points DUBAI The index was flat at 2,810 points QATAR The index edged up 0.3% to 10,228 points EGYPT The index rose 0.8% to 14,302 points BAHRAIN The index was up 0.3% to 1,523 points OMAN The index was down 0.7% at 4,014 points KUWAIT The index was up 0.3% to 6,213 points (Reporting by Maqsood Alam and Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Financials drag most of Gulf lower, Saudi underperforms

09 Oct 2019

* Saudi falls in six of seven sessions this month * SABIC extends losses after Fitch downgrade * Lender CIB weighs on Egypt * Banks slip in Abu Dhabi, Qatar * But financials boost Dubai * By Maqsood Alam and Shamsuddin Mohd Oct 9 Most major Gulf markets traded in the red on Wednesday with weakness in banking shares weighing and Saudi Arabian stocks underperforming their regional peers. Saudi Arabia’s index fell 1.5%. Al Rjahi Bank declined 2.5% and the Country’s biggest lender National Commercial Bank slid 2.2%. Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) shed 1.8%, extending losses following its downgrade by Fitch on Monday. Fitch downgraded SABIC and Saudi Aramco to A from A+ after attacks last month on two oil production facilities. It also considered rising geopolitical tensions in the region and the country's continued fiscal deficit. The rating agency downgraded Saudi Arabia's credit rating to A from A+ on Sept. 30. The index has fallen in six of seven sessions this month, leaving it down 1.4% year to date. It had gained more than 20% in the first four months of 2019 in the run up to joining the MSCI and FTSE emerging-market indexes, which helped attract billions of dollars from passive funds. However, escalating trade tensions, volatile oil prices and growing geopolitical risks have hit the market since then and kept active emerging-market funds from investing in the kingdom. An analysis by Copley Fund Research showed that high valuations and reputation risks have deterred investors. In Egypt, the blue-chip index slipped 1.2% with most of its stocks falling and market heavyweight Commercial International Bank decreasing 1.1%. Stock exchange data showed local investors were net sellers of Egyptian stocks. In Abu Dhabi, the index slipped 0.3%, led by a 0.5% drop in First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. Financials also hit the Qatar index, which closed 0.7% lower with Qatar Islamic Bank down 1% and Qatar National Bank (QNB) falling 0.7%. After the market closed, QNB reported a 4% rise in nine-month net profit, broadly in line with analyst estimates. However, banks led gainers on the Dubai index, which rose 0.5. Emirates NBD increased 0.8% and Dubai Islamic Bank was up 0.6%. SAUDI ARABIA The index fell 1.5% to 7,716 points ABU DHABI The index slipped 0.3% to 5,053 points DUBAI The index was up 0.5% to 2,810 points QATAR The index was down 0.7% to 10,198 points EGYPT The index fell 1.2% to 14,183 points BAHRAIN The index was flat at 1,518 points OMAN The index was up 0.1% at 4,040 points KUWAIT The index was down 0.7% to 6,194 points (Reporting by Maqsood Alam and Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil price fall weighs on Gulf markets, Saudi leads losses

08 Oct 2019

* Nine of 11 Saudi banks drop * Dubai snaps 3-day winning streak * 28 of 30 Egyptian blue chips fall * Abu Dhabi's ADNOC slips on ex-dividend By Maqsood Alam Oct 8 All major Gulf stock markets traded lower on Tuesday with financial shares suffering the biggest losses across the region amid declining oil prices. Saudi Arabia led the declines as most of the kingdom's banks dropped. Oil prices fell as hopes faded for a trade deal between the United States and China, after Washington blacklisted more Chinese companies. The two main benchmarks of crude oil fell 1.3% and 1.5% by 1035 GMT, after having risen almost 1% earlier in the day. Saudi Arabia's index closed down 0.6% with Al Rjahi Bank and Samba Financial Group shedding 1.3% each. With Tuesday's decline, the index is now roughly flat for the year to date. It had gained more than 20% in the first four months of 2019 before joining the MSCI and FTSE emerging-market indexes, which helped attract billions of dollars from passive funds. However, escalating trade tensions, volatile oil prices and growing geopolitical risks have weighed on the market since then and kept active emerging-market funds from investing in the kingdom. Active emerging-market funds have kept away because of high valuations and reputation risks, an analysis by Copley Fund Research showed. Qatar's index slipped 0.3% with market heavyweight Qatar Islamic Bank dropping 2.1%. In Dubai, the index closed 0.2% lower after three consecutive days of gains. Dubai Islamic Bank fell 0.8% and Dubai Investments decreased 1.6%. Abu Dhabi index inched down 0.1%. The United Arab Emirates' largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank lost 0.4%, and ADNOC Distribution shed 2.6% as the fuel retailer traded ex-dividend. Outside of the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index fell 0.6% with 28 of its 30 stocks trading in the red and real estate shares acting as the biggest drag. Real estate investment firm Talat Mostafa slid 2.8%. Stock exchange data showed foreigners were net sellers of Egyptian stocks. SAUDI ARABIA The index fell 0.6% to 7,833 points ABU DHABI The index slipped 0.1% to 5,070 points DUBAI The index was down 0.2% to 2,796 points QATAR The index was down 0.3% to 10,272 points EGYPT The index fell 0.6% to 14,349 points BAHRAIN The index inched down 0.1% to 1,518 points OMAN The index was up 0.2% at 4,036 points KUWAIT The index edged up 0.1% to 6,236 points (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt gains on talks for IMF assistance, Banks weigh on Saudi

07 Oct 2019

* Ezz steel sees biggest intra-day rise in 3 1/2 years * Saudi Advanced falls after delay in Alsalam Aerospace deal * Abo Moati, Al Aseel jump on potential move to main index * Financials boost Dubai, Etisalat buoys Abu Dhabi By Maqsood Alam and Shamsuddin Mohd Oct 7 Egypt's blue-chip shares rose sharply on Monday, boosted by financial shares amid talks over possible further assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while banking shares dragged down Saudi stocks. Egypt's blue-chip index rose 1.5% in its first day of trading since the central bank governor said Cairo was in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on further assistance to help it carry out structural reforms. Egypt’s current $12 billion three-year IMF program ends next month. Commercial International Bank gained 1.6% and El Sewedy Electric rose 4.2%. Iron Steel jumped 5.5% while Ezz Steel soared 18.1%, its sharpest single-day percentage gain since March 2016. Egypt has lowered the domestic price of gas for the cement industry to $6 per million Btu from $8 and to $5.50 per million Btu for metals and ceramics sector from $7. Saudi Arabia's benchmark index dropped 1.1% as Al Rajhi Bank fell 1.1% and Riyad Bank shed 2.8%. Saudi Advanced Industries plunged 7.8%, its biggest intra-day fall since November 2017. The firm said an agreement for the sale of its 10% stake in Alsalam Aerospace Industries was extended for a period of six months. But Abdullah Saad Mohammed Abo Moati Stationeries and Al Aseel Company, which trade on the secondary Saudi market NOMU, surged 17.7% and 4.7% respectively following board approvals to move their listing onto the main index. Qatar's index slid 0.1%. The Gulf’s largest Insurer, Qatar Insurance, dropped 2.1%, while Commercial Bank eased 0.9%. In Dubai the index rose 0.8%, extending gains for a third straight session, boosted by advances in banking shares. Dubai Islamic Bank increased 1.9%, while Mashreq Bank soared 13.6% after the lender said its board would approve the third-quarter results next week. Abu Dhabi's index also edged up 0.8%. Emirates Telecommunications Group, which uses Huawei's 5G technology, advanced 1.4%. On Sunday, the chief technological officer of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications said that it saw no evidence of security concerns about Huawei's 5G technology. The United States had raised its concerns with Gulf allies over a possible security risk in using Huawei technology for their 5G mobile infrastructure. SAUDI ARABIA The index fell 1.1% to 7,878 points ABU DHABI The index rose 0.8% to 5,075 points DUBAI The index was up 0.8% to 2,803 points QATAR The index slipped 0.1% to 10,299 points EGYPT The index rose 1.5% to 14,432 points BAHRAIN The index was up 0.5% at 1,519 points OMAN The index was flat at 4,026 points KUWAIT The index was up 1.1% at 6,232 points (Reporting by Maqsood Alam and Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Heinrich)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most of Gulf rises on modest U.S. job growth, Saudi ends losing streak

06 Oct 2019

* Saudi snaps 3-day losing streak * Bahri sees biggest rise in almost a year * AXA Cooperative Insurance gains on capital increase nod * Dubai's Arabtec jumps on Aramco Contract * Amlak continues gaining on court ruling By Maqsood Alam and Shamsuddin Mohd Oct 6 Most Gulf markets closed higher on Sunday mirroring the previous session's rise in global stocks on easing concerns about the U.S. economy, while Saudi Arabia ended three consecutive days of losses. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to near a 50-year low of 3.5% in September, with job growth increasing moderately, suggesting the slowing economy could avoid a recession for now despite the trade dispute between the United States and China. Saudi Arabia's index was up 0.5% with Jabal Omar Development adding 3.9% in what was the biggest boost for the index. The developer and hospitality service provider rose in last six sessions after Saudi Arabia launched a new visa regime for 49 countries and appealed to foreign companies to invest in tourism sector. National Shipping Co. (Bahri) surged 4.8% to its sharpest single-day percentage gain since Oct. 28 last year after the Ministry of Defence extended shipment contract with the firm for a year, increasing the total deal value to 421.7 million riyals ($112.5 million). Advanced Petrochemical gained 1.2% after reporting higher third-quarter profit, while AXA Cooperative Insurance jumped 5.7% after Saudi regulator approved its request for increasing the capital. Improving the market sentiment was a potential ceasefire in Yemen after Saudi Arabia was reported considering a proposal by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement for some form of ceasefire which, if agreed, could bolster U.N. efforts to end a devastating war that has tarnished Riyadh's reputation. In Dubai, the index closed 0.7% higher, offseting earlier losses in the day. Dubai’s top lender Emirates NBD rose 0.8% and Arabtec Holding jumped 4.7%. The contractor said its unit Target Engineering won a 280 million riyals ($74.67 million) contract from oil giant Saudi Aramco. Amlak Finance soared 14.5% to its highest level since November 28 last year. The sharia-compliant finance company has risen in recent sessions following a court ruling that awarded 780 million dirhams ($212.36 million) in an arbitration. Abu Dhabi's index edged up 0.2%, after four days of straight losses with market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank gaining 0.5% and Aldar Properties increasing 1.5%. In Qatar, the index traded flat with Qatar Industries gaining 0.9%. Egypt's stock market was closed for a public holiday. SAUDI ARABIA The index was up 0.5% to 7,963 points ABU DHABI The index edged up 0.2% to 5,036 points DUBAI The index rose 0.7% to 2,781 points QATAR The index was flat at 10,314 points BAHRAIN The index traded flat at 1,512 points OMAN The index was flat at 4,027 points KUWAIT The index was up 0.8% to 6,165 points ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirham) (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi market extends losing streak, Egypt up again

12 Sep 2019

* Banks weigh as Saudi index falls for third day * Qatar snaps four-day winning streak * Egypt’s Eastern extends gains on dividend * Financials drag on Abu Dhabi By Maqsood Alam Sept 12 Saudi Arabian stocks widened losses on Thursday, having hit an eight-month low in the previous session, while Egypt's blue-chip index rose for a third day after inflation dropped to a multi-year low in August. The Saudi index closed 0.3% down in its third straight day of losses. Riyad Bank shed 1.8% and the kingdom's largest lender, National Commercial Bank, lost 1.2%. The market fell as much as 2.5% on Wednesday, wiping out all its gains this year before clawing back some losses to close 0.4% up in the year to date. With Thursday's losses, the market is now trading only 0.1% higher than the start of the year. It jumped as much as 20% between January and May, led by foreign investors who have been net buyers on the entry of Saudi stocks into the MSCI and FTSE Russell emerging market indexes. However, some Saudi stocks became overvalued, with the kingdom's slowing economy teetering on the brink of contraction, prompting investors to pull most shares down from lofty valuations. Riyadh has been encouraging companies to list on the domestic stock market to deepen Saudi Arabia's capital markets as part of reforms aimed at reducing the kingdom's reliance on oil revenue. The kingdom has experienced a revival in IPOs this year with more are at planning stage, including global oil giant Saudi Aramco , which could generate about $100 billion for Saudi Arabia's state coffers Egypt's blue-chip index closed 0.6% up, extending gains for a third day after a fall in consumer price inflation to 7.5% in August, its lowest in years.[ Eastern Co rose 4.1%, adding to the previous day's advance after the board proposed an annual dividend of one Egyptian pound per share. The Dubai index edged up 0.1%, led by gains in financial stocks, with Dubai Islamic Bank adding 0.9%. In Abu Dhabi, the index was down 0.2% as market heavyweight Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank dropped 2.4%. Qatar's index also edged lower, slipping 0.1% to brake a four-session winning streak. Lender Masraf Al Rayan was down 1.1%. SAUDI ARABIA The index was down 0.3% to 7,832 points ABU DHABI The index lost 0.2% to 5,096 points DUBAI The index was up 0.1% to 2,888 points QATAR The index lost 0.1% to 10,462 points EGYPT The index rose 0.6% to 15,110 points BAHRAIN The index was up 0.4% at 1,547 points OMAN The index edged up 0.1% to 4,020 points KUWAIT The index was down 0.2% to 6,251 points (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru Editing by David Goodman )

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stock index slips to 8-month low amid slowing economy

11 Sep 2019

* 163 stocks fall in Saudi, 19 rise * Qatar rises for a fourth day * Financials boost Qatar * Property weighs on Dubai * Egypt's Eastern Co gains on FY dividend By Maqsood Alam Sept 11 Saudi Arabia's stock market fell to an eight-month low on Wednesday as a slowing economy prompted investors to pull most shares down from lofty valuations. The Saudi index closed 1.4% down with 163 of its stocks falling and 19 rising. Blue-chip stocks were the biggest drag on the index. Lenders National Commercial Bank and Al Rajhi Bank shed 2.7% and 1.2% respectively, while petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries lost 2.2%. The index fell as much as 2.5% during the session, wiping out all its gains this year before clawing back some losses to close just 0.4% up year-to-date. The market had jumped as much as 20% between January and May, led by foreign investors who have been net buyers every month this year as Saudi stocks joined the MSCI and FTSE Russell emerging market indexes. The move onto the indexes caused the stocks to become over-valued, with the kingdom's slowing economy teetering on the brink of contraction "Saudi Tadawul has lost more than 15% since May," said Vrajesh Bhandari, Senior Portfolio Manager at Al Mal Capital. "Valuations were expensive and fundamentals have caught up now. However, even with this we do not see value in large caps and therefore expect more downside." "Investors need to be selective and we find interesting ideas within the midcap space," added Bhandari. "One area to have a close eye on is Government project spending on infrastructure and how much that translates into loan growth for banks." Dubai's index was down 0.3% with Dubai's largest listed developer Emaar Properties dropping 0.8%. Qatar's index rose 0.9% extending its gains for the fourth day, in a boost led by financial shares with Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank advancing 1%. In Abu Dhabi, the index was up 0.2% lifted by 0.4% gain in market heavy-weight First Abu Dhabi Bank. Egypt's index closed 0.4% higher. Eastern Co gained 3.6% after the cigarette maker's board proposed an annual dividend of one Egyptian pound per share. The market also received support from a decline in the country's annual urban consumer-price inflation rate to 7.5% in August, the lowest rate in years. The fall cleared the way for further rate cuts by the central bank, which delivered a rate cut in August. SAUDI ARABIA The index dropped 1.4% to 7,855 points ABU DHABI The index was up 0.2% to 5,106 points DUBAI The index was down 0.3% to 2,885 points QATAR The index gained 0.9% to 10,466 points EGYPT The index rose 0.4% to 15,015 points BAHRAIN The index was down 0.5% at 1,541 points OMAN The index gained 0.5% to 4,017 points KUWAIT The index lost 2.5% to 6,261 points (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru, Editing by William Maclean)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges up on passive fund inflows, Abu Dhabi slips

09 Sep 2019

* Dubai's Emaar ends four-day losing streak * Abu Dhabi falls for a third day * Banks, Emirates Telecom weigh on Abu Dhabi * Telecom operators boost Qatar By Maqsood Alam Sept 9 Saudi Arabia's stock exchange recovered from earlier losses to close a touch higher on Monday amid expectations of billions of dollars more in passive fund inflows, while Abu Dhabi fell for a third straight session. The Saudi index inched up 0.1% with Al Rajhi Bank rising 0.7% and Riyad Bank gaining 1.5%. The Saudi Stock Exchange expects additional passive funds' inflows worth $3 billion from the remaining phases of inclusion in the FTSE Russell emerging market index starting in September. Three of an eventual five tranches of Saudi stocks have been added to the FTSE emerging-market index so far this year. Saudi gains in 2019 were as high as 20% in May, outperforming most regional markets ahead of the inclusion of Saudi stocks in the MSCI emerging markets index, which attracted billions of dollars from foreign investors. They have been net buyers every month this year. In August, the Saudi exchange completed the second and final phase of joining the MSCI index, raising its weight on the closely-monitored index to 2.8%. However, the index has reduced its gains for the year to 2.7% as the U.S.-China trade dispute and regional geopolitics dampened investor sentiment. Abu Dhabi's index was down 0.6%. Emirates Telecommunications Group dropped 1.2% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank lost 1.9%. Dhabi's index closed 0.3% higher, led by gains in market heavyweight Dubai Islamic Bank which rose 0.8%. Real estate shares, which have been on the back foot in recent sessions, also gained. Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties rose 0.4%, ending a four-day losing streak. Dubai property prices, having tumbled 25-35% since a mid-2014 peak, are facing further downward pressure and are expected to decline sharply this year and next as a slowdown in the economy and an oversupply of housing units pose big downside risks to their already weak outlook, a Reuters poll found. The Qatari Index also gained 0.3% as telecom operator Ooredoo rose 3.6% and Mesaieed Petrochemical added 2.5%. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index was down 0.3% with the country's largest lender Commercial International Bank shedding 0.2% and cigarette maker Eastern Co losing 1%. SAUDI ARABIA The index edged up 0.1% to 8,055 points ABU DHABI The index lost 0.6% to 5,076 points DUBAI The index was up 0.3% to 2,879 points QATAR The index was up 0.3% to 10,309 points EGYPT The index was down 0.3% to 14,888 points OMAN The index edged down 0.2% to 3,985 points KUWAIT The index dropped 1.5% to 6,415 points Bahrain The market was closed for a public holiday (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Heinrich)

World News