March 7, 2018 / 1:58 PM / 4 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stocks down with global markets; Saudi and Egypt defy trend

DUBAI, March 7 (Reuters) - Gulf stocks mostly fell on Wednesday, with only Saudi Arabia resisting a broad decline in global markets after the resignation of a key White House economic adviser sparked fears of a trade war.

The departure of Gary Cohn, who had opposed U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan for tariffs and was seen as a bulwark against protectionist forces within the Trump administration, triggered a global sell-off across asset classes.

The Qatar market lost 0.7 percent. Vodafone Qatar was the worst performer, shedding 5.4 percent.

Its stock has been falling since the firm announced last week a plan to reduce its share capital by halving the nominal value of the company to 5 riyal per share.

The Abu Dhabi exchange was broadly flat, losing only 0.09 percent. But Dubai slipped 0.7 percent, weighed down by consumer stocks and real estate. Major developer Emaar Properties fell 1.4 percent.

The Saudi market defied the trend as it continued to be buoyed by improved sentiment related to steady oil prices.

BUPA Arabia, the second most-traded stock on the Tadawul, jumped 9.9 percent. The stock has rebounded after hitting its lowest price since 2014 in late February.

Other key movers included Banque Saudi Fransi, up 1.8 percent, and Savola Group, up 2.1 percent.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s index continued to climb, reaching another all-time high as it benefits from the central bank’s decision to cut interest rates last month, the first time it has done so since letting the currency float freely in 2016.

The Egyptian exchange closed at 16,384.07 points, up 2.3 percent, led by gains in the consumer and industrial sectors.

SAUDI ARABIA

* Index went up 0.21 percent to 7,453.17 points.

DUBAI

* Index shed 0.72 percent to 3,181.96 points.

ABU DHABI

* Index dropped 0.09 percent to 4,519.58 points.

QATAR

* Index went down 0.69 percent to 8,371.11 points.

EGYPT

* Index rose 2.26 percent to 16,384.07 points.

KUWAIT

* Index was up 0.04 percent to 6,808.45 points.

BAHRAIN

* Index was down 0.62 percent to 1,366.29 points.

OMAN

* Index dropped 0.39 percent to 4,928.10 points. (Reporting by Katie Paul; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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