October 23, 2017 / 9:03 AM / 5 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Emaar weighs on Dubai, Banks drag down Saudi early on

DUBAI, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Emaar Properties weighed on Dubai’s stock market in early trade on Monday for the second day in a row, while Saudi Arabia was dragged down by the banking and insurance sectors.

The Dubai index lost 0.7 percent as Emaar fell another 2.0 percent, after losing 2.1 percent on Sunday, after it said it expects to sell 20 percent of its local property development unit Emaar Development LLC next month in an initial public offering.

Previously, Emaar had said it would offer up to 30 percent of the business, distributing funds raised as dividends to shareholders in the parent company. It did not say on Sunday why the sale was expected to be only 20 percent.

GFH Financial slipped 1.7 percent in heavy trade after rising on Sunday, when the United Arab Emirates securities regulator approved the listing of Bahrain’s Khaleeji Commercial Bank, subject to approval by the Bahrain central bank.

GFH owns 47 percent of Khaleeji, and has long been aiming to list the bank in Dubai.

In Saudi Arabia, the index was dragged down by the banking and insurance sectors, and fell 0.9 percent despite strong earnings from NCB the kingdom’s largest lender.

Although it reported an 8.4 percent rise in third-quarter net profit, NCB fell 4.3 percent as deposits slipped 2.8 percent year on year, continuing declines seen in the first half of 2017 and in 2016.

Bank Aljazira fell 0.7 percent in early trade, although it reported a 41 percent rise in third-quarter net profit to 228 million riyals.

Most Saudi insurers also fell in early trade. Metlife AIG ANB Cooperative Insurance fell 2.5 percent, while Malath Insurance lost 2.2 percent.

Qatar’s index was down 0.6 percent after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who arrived in Doha on Sunday, said there was little chance of a swift breakthrough to resolve a blockade imposed on the Gulf state by Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies.

Qatar National Bank, the biggest bank in the Middle East, lost 1.1 percent. (Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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