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Shamsuddin Mohd

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most of Gulf drops, blue-chip sell off hurts Egypt

06 Nov 2019

* Nine of 11 Saudi banks decline * Saudi Arabian Refineries drops on Q3 losses * Egypt snaps a nine-day winning streak By Shamsuddin Mohd Nov 6 Most major gulf markets ended lower on Wednesday, amid falling oil prices and lingering concerns over the outcome of U.S.-China trade talks, while Egypt snapped a nine-day winning streak. Oil prices fell on Wednesday, pulled down by a larger-than-expected build in U.S. crude stocks and weak euro zone economic figures, after gaining for three sessions on expectations of an easing in U.S.-China trade tensions. Brent crude was down 43 cents, or 0.7%, at $62.53 a barrel by 1010 GMT. In Saudi Arabia, the benchmark index slipped 0.4%, with Banque Saudi Fransi declining 3.2% and Saudi British Bank (SABB) losing 2%. On Sunday, the former had posted a nearly 7% fall in third-quarter net profit, which it blamed on higher operating expenses and impairment charges. Saudi Arabian Refineries lost 1.4% as the firm turned to losses in the third-quarter. Egypt's blue-chip index ended 0.5% lower, ending a nine-day winning streak, as 21 of 30 stocks on the index declined. Conglomerate Talaat Moustafa Group slid 3.3% and El Sewedy Electric was down 2.4%. Dubai's main share index traded flat as financial and real estate stocks moved sideways. Dubai's largest lender Emirates NBD gained 0.9% while Emaar Properties was down 0.5%. In Abu Dhabi, the index fell 0.2%, with developer Aldar Properties sliding 1.7% and Emirates Telecommunications Group easing 0.2%. On Wednesday, the telecoms firm announced its board meeting to be held on Nov. 11 to approve its third-quarter financials. Qatar's index was also down 0.2% led by a 0.8% fall in market heavyweight Industries Qatar and a 0.6% drop in Qatar National Bank. SAUDI ARABIA The index lost 0.4% to 7,749 points ABU DHABI The index was down 0.2% to 5,144 points DUBAI The index traded flat to 2,688 points QATAR The index fell 0.2% to 10,285 points EGYPT The index dropped 0.5% to 14,710 points BAHRAIN The index was flat at 1,517 points OMAN The index edged up 0.1% 4,030 points KUWAIT The index added 0.1% to 6,158 points (Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi shares end higher as banks jump; Dubai falls over 1%

17 Oct 2019

* Sabic surges after JV commences ethylene expansion project * Emirates NBD sees its biggest fall in nearly 8 months * Deyaar tumbles after reporting a fall in Q3 profit * Qatar's Baladna to raise 1.43 bln riyals in IPO By Shamsuddin Mohd Oct 17 Saudi Arabian shares closed higher for a second straight session on Thursday as banks rallied, while Dubai was dragged down by its top lender Emirates NBD. Saudi's benchmark index rose 1.6%, with Al Rajhi Bank and Banque Saudi Fransi advancing 3.1%. and 6.6%, respectively. The world's fourth-biggest petrochemical firm, Saudi Basic Industries, soared 4% after its joint-venture with China's SINOPEC kicked off its ethylene expansion project on Oct. 14. In Dubai, the index fell 1.6%. Emirates NBD saw its worst session in nearly eight months and closed down 3.8%. The bank's board approved a capital increase via a rights issue of up to 6.45 billion dirhams ($1.76 billion), lower than 7.35 billion dirhams that the general assembly had decided in February this year. Deyaar Development shed 5.6% after the developer reported a sharp decline in its third-quarter profit compared with the same quarter a year earlier. Qatar's index slipped 0.1% as banking and energy stocks weighed. Qatar Fuel and Qatar Islamic Bank lost 1.3% and 0.7%, respectively. Separately, Qatari company Baladna, which has built a dairy business in the desert following a trade embargo by Saudi Arabia and its allies, will launch an initial public offering this month that could raise 1.43 billion riyals ($392.86 million). Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi's index reversed its course to close 0.1% higher, helped by a 1.4% rise in Aldar Properties . On Wednesday, the realtor's unit issued a $500 million sukuk, or Islamic bonds, and the transaction was six times oversubscribed. Egypt's blue-chip index traded flat with country's largest lender, Commercial International Bank, dropping 1%, while developer Madinet Nasr ended 6% higher. SAUDI ARABIA The index was up 1.6% at 7,636 ABU DHABI The index edged up 0.1% to 5,093 DUBAI The index was down 1.6% at 2,780 QATAR The index edged down 0.1% to 10,428 EGYPT The index was flat at 14,206 BAHRAIN The index was up 0.1% at 1,527 OMAN The index rose 0.1% to 4,005 KUWAIT The index was up 0.1% at 6,300 ($1 = 3.6400 Qatar riyals) (Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi hits 11-month low as most Gulf markets fall

15 Oct 2019

* Saudi banks decline * GASCO drops as it trades ex-dividend * Property shares weak in Dubai * 23 of thirty stocks fall in Egypt By Shamsuddin Mohd Oct 15 Saudi Arabia's stock index fell sharply on Tuesday with all its banking shares declining ahead of third-quarter results as expectations remain muted, while most major Gulf markets traded in negative territory. In Saudi Arabia, the benchmark index declined 1.6%, reaching its lowest since November 2018. Riyad Bank lost 4% and National Commercial Bank (NCB) dropped 1.6%. Third-quarter results at Saudi banks are expected to be hit by two consecutive rate cuts by the Saudi central bank in August and September, which analysts say will squeeze their revenue. "In general, expectations from third quarter results are muted. Rate cuts are spread negative since a large chunk of their deposits are cost-free anyways & loan growth is not exciting," said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. National Gas And Industrialization (GASCO) fell 4.6% as it traded ex-dividend, meaning any new buyers of the stock are not entitled to the next dividend payment. With Tuesday's fall, the kingdom's main index has fallen in ten of eleven sessions this month, leaving it 4.2% down year to date, with over 8% losses coming in third-quarter. The index was up 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 between the United States and China, growing geopolitical risks in the region and volatile oil prices have hit the market since then and kept active emerging market funds from investing in the kingdom. Egypt's blue-chip index was down 0.9%, with 23 of 30 stocks on the index seeing a decline. Egypt Kuwait Holding dropped 2.4% and Eastern Company was down 1.2%. Exchange data showed non-Arab foreign investors were net sellers of the stocks. Back in the Gulf, Dubai's main share index slid 0.5%, extending losses from the previous sessions in a downturn led by real estate stocks. Blue chip developer Emaar Properties dropped 1.1% and Union Properties plunged 7.2%. In Qatar, the index rose 0.3%, extending its gains for a consecutive fourth session, with lender Masraf Al Rayan increasing 2.4%. In Abu Dhabi, the index was down 0.1%, led by a 0.8% fall in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and a 0.1% drop in First Abu Dhabi Bank. SAUDI ARABIA The index was down 1.6% to 7,482 points ABU DHABI The index edged down 0.1% to 5,082 points DUBAI The index was down 0.5% to 2,824 points QATAR The index edged up 0.3% to 10,430 points EGYPT The index fell 0.9% to 14,060 points BAHRAIN The index was down 0.1% to 1,519 points OMAN The index was up 0.1% 4,017 points KUWAIT The index was Rose 0.3% to 6,243 points (Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru, editing by Deepa Babington)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks boost Qatar, Deyaar's surge lifts Dubai

14 Oct 2019

* Most Qatari banks gain ahead of Q3 earnings * Deyaar touches its highest in a year * Air Arabia gains on prospect of planes order * Bahri slides as it went ex-dividend By Shamsuddin Mohd Oct 14 Qatar's stock market rose sharply on Monday, helped by financial shares, while a surge in Deyaar Development buoyed the Dubai index, even as most Middle Eastern stocks were quiet. In Qatar, the index rose 1.2%, extending its gains for a third straight day, with Qatar Islamic Bank increasing 2.6% and Masraf Al Rayan adding 3.3%. The two are scheduled to report their third quarter financials on Oct. 16 and 27 respectively. Dubai's main share index was up 0.5% as real estate developer Deyaar Development soared 14.7%, reaching its highest since November 2018, after the company said its board would approve third-quarter results later this week. Air Arabia also gained 1.5% after the company's chief executive officer said the budget airline might decide by January on an order for around 115 to 120 planes. In Saudi Arabia, the benchmark index slipped 0.4%. Riyad Bank lost 2.7% and Jabal Omar development dropped 1.2%. Amongst other stocks, National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) was down 3% as it traded ex-dividend. With Monday's fall, the Saudi bourse's main index has fallen in nine of ten sessions this month, leaving it at 3.1% down so far this year. 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, the trade dispute between the United States and China, growing geopolitical risks in the region and volatile oil prices have hit the market since then and kept active emerging market funds from investing in the kingdom. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index slipped 0.3% led by a 2.5% fall in real estate developer Talaat Mostafa and a 5.1% plunge in Juhayna Food. In Abu Dhabi, the index traded flat with market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank adding 0.4% while Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank was down 1.8%. SAUDI ARABIA The index was down 0.4% to 7,599 points ABU DHABI The index traded flat to 5,088 points DUBAI The index rose 0.5% to 2,839 points QATAR The index was up 1.2% to 10,404 points EGYPT The index fell 0.3% to 14,181 points BAHRAIN The index was up 0.1% to 1,521 points OMAN The index was flat at 4,014 points KUWAIT The index was flat to 6,226 points (Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengalurul; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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-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-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)

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