May 6, 2019 / 1:39 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi hit by profit-taking, financials drag major Gulf markets

    * Seera Group tumbles on lower Q1 net-profit
    * 24 of 30 stocks on Egypt's index fall
    * Egypt's El Sewedy, SODIC slide on trading ex-dividend
    * Dubai's RAK Properties drops after Q1 results

    By Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan
    May 6 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market fell on Monday
to its lowest point in eight months, hurt by profit-taking in
its banks, while most major Middle Eastern markets also slid
sharply. 
    The Saudi index was down 1.5 percent, weakened by
financial and petrochemical stocks. Its biggest lender, National
Commercial Bank, decreased 1.9 percent and Banque
Saudi Fransi lost 4.3 percent. 
    Oil prices tumbled after U.S. President Donald Trump said he
would sharply raise tariffs on Chinese goods this week.
    Yanbu National Petrochemicals and Advanced
Petrochemicals fell 2 percent and 1.8 percent
respectively.
    Travel operator Seera Group fell 5.2 percent after
posting a 40 percent drop in its first-quarter net profit,
citing competitive pricing and higher costs.
    "The interest rate is unlikely to rise, business volumes are
likely to be low as we enter Ramadan period, and now weaker
crude prices present an ideal gain booking opportunity," analyst
Chiro Ghosh at SICO said in Bahrain.
    The deep sell-off in the financial sector was profit-taking
by investors who had made reasonable gains, Ghosh added.
    Last week, Saudi local investors were net sellers of stocks,
representing 85.8 percent of total selling activity, while
foreign investors were net buyers, according to stock exchange
data.
    The Egyptian blue-chip index dropped 2.1 percent,
with 24 of its 30 stocks declining. El Sewedy Electric
plunged 8.1 percent and developer Sixth Of October Development
And Investment Co (SODIC) dropped 4.4 percent as the
stocks traded ex-dividend.
    Non-Arab foreign investors were the net buyers in Monday's
session, while Arab investors were the net sellers, according to
stock exchange data.
    Egyptian Chemical Industries (Kima) was down 6.7
percent. The company reported an 81.7 percent fall in net profit
for the nine-month period, while Emaar Misr For Development
 dropped 6.8 percent after posting a fall in its
first-quarter net profit.
    "Kima's results are weak, falling short of our estimates by
a considerable margin, as the company continued to face hurdles
to export its output to Sudan and Turkey," NAEEM Brokerage in a
note.
    Qatar's blue-chip index slid 1.6 percent, pressured
by financial stocks. Qatar Fuel and Qatar First Bank
 fell 3.9 percent and 3.8 percent, receptively.
    The index has risen only 0.2 percent year-to-date, making it
one of the worst performing Gulf markets this year.
    Out of 10 fund managers polled, most said they would keep
their investments in Qatar at the same level, while 40 percent
said they would reduce them, according to a Reuters poll last
week.
    The Abu Dhabi index slipped 1.5 percent, with Finance
House and National Bank of Umm Al Qaiwain
falling 10 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively. The latter
reported a fall in its total income for the first-quarter.
    Property developer RAK Properties shed 1.8 percent
after it reported an 84 percent slump in first-quarter net
profit.
    In Dubai, the index traded 0.7 percent, with Dubai
Investments sliding 1.5 percent after a 44 percent
drop in its first-quarter net profit.
    Islamic insurers Dar Al Takaful and Islamic Arab
Insurance fell 7.7 percent and 4.2 percent
respectively.
    
 SAUDI ARABIA    The index         fell 1.5 pct at 9,043 points
 ABU DHABI       The index        was down 1.5 pct at 5,146 points
 DUBAI           Index          slid 0.7 pct at 2,733 points
 QATAR           The index        lost 1.6 pct to 10,297 points
 EGYPT           The index          fell 2.1 pct to 14,205 points
 BAHRAIN         The index        added 0.1 pct at 1,438 points
 OMAN            The index        fell 0.7 pct at 3,905 points
 KUWAIT          The index        was up 0.3 pct at 6,191 points
 
 (Reporting by Karina Dsouza and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in
Bengaluru
Editing by Mark Heinrich)
  
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