October 3, 2019 / 1:16 PM / in 18 days

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

    * 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 (Reuters) - 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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