May 20, 2019 / 1:11 PM / 6 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi slides on blue-chip weakness, Egypt hit by sell-off

    * Zahrat Al Waha , Leejam Sports fall after trading ex-dividend
    * U.S.-Iran tensions weigh on Saudi sentiment - analyst
    * SODIC posts standalone net loss in Q1 

    By Karina Dsouza
    May 20 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market slipped on Monday as
investors cut positions in blue-chip stocks amid lingering uncertainty from
regional tensions, while a wide sell-off pulled down Egypt's blue-chip share
index.
    Saudi Arabia's index was down 0.7%, pressured by weakness in key
banking and petrochemical shares. Al Rajhi Bank fell 0.7% and Saudi
Basic Industries was off by 1.3%.
    Saudi Arabia's central bank said on Sunday it had fined 16 financial
institutions, including Al Rajhi Bank, for violating principles of responsible
finance.
    Zahrat Al Waha For Trading and Leejam Sports Co dropped
3.7% and 0.8% respectively. Shares of both the companies traded ex-dividend.
    The Saudi index has been trading choppy in the last week, gaining on MSCI's
decision to include MSCI Saudi Arabia in its emerging markets index but hurt by
geopolitical tensions between Iran and the United States.
    "Under the current market scenario, Saudi stocks have been lower due to
underperformance in real estate, hotel and tourism, and agriculture and food
production sectors," said Mihir Kapadia, chief executive of Sun Global
Investments.
    "The country's proximity to the escalating tensions between Iran and U.S.
has weighed down on sentiment, with similar scenarios across the region
including the UAE," added Kapadia.
    Egypt's blue-chip index was down 1%, losing for a fourth straight
day, with 23 of its 30 stocks sliding. El Sewedy Electric fell 3.1%
and Commercial International Bank slid 0.6%.
    Sixth Of October Development and Investment fell 3.2% after the
real estate developer reported a standalone net loss in its first-quarter
compared to a profit a year earlier. 
    Qatar's index was up 0.3% with Gulf International Services
and Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Co rising 10% each. 
    Abu Dhabi's index ended flat. Axa Green Crescent Insurance Co
 dropped 10% and Gulf Medical Projects Co dipped 3.3%. The
latter posted a 28.3% fall in its net profit for the first quarter.
    The Dubai index edged 0.3% lower, pressured by its financial
stocks. Commercial Bank of Dubai dropped 8.8% while Amlak Finance
 dropped 5.2%.
    The index has dipped 0.7% this year, with a 9.2% fall since the beginning of
May amid low trading during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and rising
geopolitical tensions.

 SAUDI ARABIA    The index         fell 0.7% at 8,469 points
 ABU DHABI       The index        was flat at 4,733 points
 DUBAI           The index          slid 0.3% at 2,513 points
 QATAR           The index        added 0.3% to 9,899 points
 EGYPT           The index          fell 1% to 13,379 points
 BAHRAIN         The index        slid 0.2% at 1,396 points
 OMAN            The index        dipped 0.4% at 3,845 points
 KUWAIT          The index        was flat at 6,007 points
 
 (Reporting by Karina Dsouza in Bengaluru;
Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)
  
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