May 7, 2019 / 1:51 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil, geopolitical tensions weigh on Saudi; most Gulf markets down

    * Alawwal Bank falls on lower Q1 results
    * Islamic Arab Insurance drags on Dubai index
    * Kuwait jumps ahead of MSCI decision
    * Lender ADCB weighs on Abu Dhabi 

    By Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan
    May 7 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market fell on Tuesday for the fourth
straight day, weakened by a combination of lower oil prices and geopolitical
tension in the Middle East, while Egypt's blue-chip index was buoyed by its
largest lender.
    The Saudi index was down 0.8 percent. The country's second-largest
lender by assets Al Rajhi Bank lost 1.1 percent and National
Commercial Bank shed 2.3 percent.
    Alawwal Bank eased 1.8 percent after reporting a fall in its
first-quarter net profit due to higher costs.
     Oil prices fell as renewed doubts over U.S.-China trade talks stoked
concerns over global growth, while the United States said on Sunday it was
deploying the Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to
the Middle East in response to troubling "indications and warnings" from Iran.

    "A combination of lower oil prices, regional instability, U.S. sending
carriers to the Gulf will have a negative effect on the regional markets and in
particularly Saudi as it is the most looked at market currently," Rami Jamal,
portfolio manager at Amwal in Doha said. 
    Egypt's blue-chip index rose 1.3 percent, with its largest lender
Commercial International Bank Egypt adding 2.8 percent. The firm
posted an increase in first-quarter net profit, aided by strong net interest
margins and deposits.
    Eastern Co rose 1.4 percent after saying it would launch a new 
Black Massal product and expected Black Massal sales to rise by 50 percent from
current levels.  
    Kuwait's blue chip index added 1.9 percent with Zain Kuwait
and National Bank of Kuwait gaining 2.7 percent and 4.2 percent,
respectively.
    Last week, Zain Kuwait reported a 15 percent rise in first-quarter net
profit helped by strong growth in Bahrain and Iraq.
    The index is on MSCI's watch list for a potential upgrade to emerging market
status by mid-June. Kuwait's weight in the emerging market index could reach
about 0.51 percent which will result in $2.5 billion of passive inflows, Jaap
Meijer, head of equity research at Arqaam Capital said. 
    The country has seen strong foreign interest over the past year on the back
of its FTSE emerging market inclusion last year and the potential upcoming MSCI
re-classification, Meijer added. 
    The Abu Dhabi index slipped 0.4 percent, with Abu Dhabi Commerical
Bank shedding 3.7 percent after reporting first-quarter results. 
    The bank, which formalised a merger with two other lenders last week,
reported a 5 percent fall in first-quarter profit, hurt by lower interest
income. 
    Gulf Cement dropped 6.1 percent, while First Abu Dhabi Bank
, the largest in the United Arab Emirates, dipped 0.3 percent.
    In Dubai, the index traded 0.3 percent lower, with Islamic Arab
Insurance down 7.3 percent and the top loser after denying talks of
a merger.
    Property firm Emaar Development fell 1.9 percent. The company
reported a 8.3 percent drop in its first-quarter net profit.
    The Qatar index was down 0.4 percent, with Mesaieed Petrochemical
Holding dropping 2.8 percent.
    Qatar National Bank and Qatar International Islamic Bank
slipped 1.3 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
    
 SAUDI ARABIA    The index         fell 0.8 pct to 8,969 points
 ABU DHABI       The index        dipped 0.4 pct to 5,124 points
 DUBAI           The index          was 0.3 pct lower at 2,726 points
 QATAR           The index        lost 0.4 pct to 10,251 points
 EGYPT           The index          rose 1.3 pct to 14,390 points
 BAHRAIN         The index        rose 0.3 pct to 1,442 points
 OMAN            The index        dipped 0.1 pct to 3,901 points
 KUWAIT          The index        gained 1.9 pct to 6,310 points
 

 (Reporting by Karina Dsouza in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
  
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