Edition:
India

Abinaya Vijayaraghavan

MIDEAST STOCKS-Emaar, Emirates lift Dubai; petrochemicals aid Saudi

02 Apr 2019

* Emirates NBD lingers around 10-month high * Dubai's Shuaa jumps on reverse merger report * Kuwait index rises to highest level in 3 years * Mesaieed Petrochemical gains on MSCI index inclusion By Ateeq Shariff and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan April 2 Dubai's stock market rose for the fourth straight session to a four-month high on Tuesday, lifted mainly by gains in heavyweights Emaar Properties and Emirates NBD, while petrochemical stocks buoyed Saudi Arabia. The Dubai index closed 1.2 percent higher with Emaar Properties gaining 3.2 percent, while its largest lender Emirates NBD was up 2.4 percent, as one of its businesses will list on the London Stock Exchange. "Our channel checks suggest foreigners have been accumulating Emaar. Also, it seems the stock had some favourable moves on technical charts. In banking, Emirates is seeing some interest on back of the IPO of its affiliate," Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital said. "We have been positive on Dubai names since the beginning of the year, mainly on account of valuations," Bhandari said, adding that they expect the real estate market to be stable through the course of the year. Payments processor Network International said shares in its initial public offering (IPO) would be priced between 395 pence and 465p each, implying a valuation of between 1.9 billion pounds and 2.3 billion ($2.5-3.0 billion). Emirates NBD is the major shareholder in the firm, holding about 51 percent. Shuaa Capital jumped 7 percent, to its highest since mid-December 2018. Abu Dhabi Financial Group is set to take over Shuaa in a reverse merger, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday. The Saudi index was up 0.4 percent, with Saudi Basic Industries gaining 0.8 percent and National Industrialization Co climbing 4.8 percent. Oil prices hit a 2019 high above $69 a barrel, with Brent crude touching $69.50, the highest since mid-November. Saudi International Petrochemical Co rose 1.2 percent. The firm appointed Abdullah Bin Saif Al-Saadoon as its chief executive and managing director. The Egyptian blue-chip index rose 1.4 percent with Commercial International Bank adding 4.3 percent. El Sewedy Electric increased 3.1 percent. On Monday, the firm said its consortium with Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems was awarded a contract worth about $550 million from the Sharjah Electricity And Water Authority. In Qatar, the index added 0.5 percent, led by a 4.8 percent rise in Qatar Insurance, its biggest intraday gain in five months. Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding rose 3.8 percent to its highest since August 2015. The firm is eligible for inclusion in MSCI's emerging market index in May, which is expected to result in passive inflows of $230 million, Arqaam Capital said in a note on Monday. Kuwait's index rose 1 percent to its highest level since 2016, boosted by bank shares. National Bank of Kuwait added 1.1 percent and Ahli United Bank increased 1.6 percent. Abu Dhabi's index traded flat with energy firm Dana Gas rising 2.1 percent. On Sunday the company said it had received $19 million from Egypt as a part of the government's efforts to reduce monies owed to zero in 2019. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 0.4 pct to 8,935 points ABU DHABI The index was flat at 5,054 points DUBAI The index gained 1.2 pct to 2,730 points QATAR The index added 0.5 pct to 10,201 points EGYPT The index was up 1.4 pct at 15,166 points KUWAIT The index rose 1 pct to 6,064 points OMAN The index dropped 0.5 pct to 3,940 points BAHRAIN The index was up 0.2 pct at 1,404 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Heinrich)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi's SABIC loses steam, ex-dividend stocks hit Abu Dhabi

28 Mar 2019

* SABIC retreats from 5-month high * 24 of 30 stocks on Egypt index rise * Aldar, Etisalat slide on going ex-dividend * QIIB hits 3-year high after foreign ownership limit increase By Ateeq Shariff and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan March 28 Saudi Arabia's stock market rose on Thursday aided by its banks, even as Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) gave up most of its early gains spurred by news of Aramco's purchase of a large stake in the petrochemicals group. Abu Dhabi edged down as some stocks traded ex-dividend. Saudi Arabia's index was up 0.3 percent with Al Rajhi Bank adding 1 percent and National Commercial Bank rising 2 percent. Heavyweight SABIC lost 0.3 percent after gaining as much as 2.7 percent earlier in the session. The world's largest oil producer Saudi Aramco agreed to buy a 70 percent stake in the firm from the Public Investment Firm (PIF) for $69.1 billion. The blockbuster deal is likely to be a "long-term game changer" for SABIC, but has limited upside in the near term because of the muted outlook from lower petrochemical prices, Arqaam Capital said. Saudi banks and telecoms were the best performing sectors in the fourth-quarter of 2018, but results were below expectations due to petrochemical firms missing earnings estimates by 41 percent and consumer names reporting 62 percent below forecasts, SICO research said in a note. The Abu Dhabi index dipped 0.2 percent, led by a 5.7 percent drop in Aldar Properties and a 0.8 percent slide in Emirates Telecommunications Group as they traded ex-dividend. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank also shed 1.5 percent after trading ex-dividend. The Egyptian blue-chip index gained 0.8 percent, led by a 1.8 percent increase in Egypt's largest lender Commercial International Bank and a 2.2 percent rise in Eastern Company. EFG Hermes closed 1.7 percent higher after its unit divested a 49 percent stake in wind energy projects across four European countries. Dubai's index increased 0.7 percent with Dubai Islamic Bank, the United Arab Emirates' largest sharia-compliant lender, gaining 2.5 percent and the country's largest lender Emirates NBD adding 0.5 percent. Network International Holdings said that global payments giant Mastercard will make a $300 million investment in its planned initial public offering. Emirates NBD owns a 51 percent stake in the company, which is the largest payments processor in the Middle East and Africa. The Qatar index gained 0.4 percent with market heavyweight Industries Qatar increasing 1.4 percent and Qatar Gas Transport rising 4 percent. The latter said it has established a joint venture with Maran Ventures in which it will hold a 60 percent stake. Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) rose 3.2 percent, reaching its highest since November 2015. On Monday, the lender's shareholders approved an increase in its foreign ownership limit to 49 percent from 25 percent. SAUDI ARABIA The index added 0.3 pct to 8,789 points ABU DHABI The index lost 0.2 pct to 5,101 points DUBAI The index rose 0.7 pct to 2,631 points QATAR The index was up 0.4 pct at 10,146 points EGYPT The index gained 0.8 pct to 14,666 points KUWAIT The index edged up 0.1 pct to 5,958 points OMAN The index dropped 1 pct to 4,006 points BAHRAIN The index was flat at 1,414 points ($1 = 3.7502 riyals) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Blue-chips lift Qatar, Banks boost Saudi

27 Mar 2019

* 18 of 20 stocks on Qatar index rise * Qatar's Mesaieed at its highest in 5-months * Kingdom holding, Saudi Telecom gain after Careem deal * Egypt's GTH slides after extending maturity of credit facility By Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Ateeq Shariff March 27 Qatar's stock market rose on Wednesday, lifted by shareholder approval for an increase in foreign ownership limits at Qatar Fuel and Mesaieed Petrochemical, while Saudi Arabia rose on the back of its banks. The Qatar index rose 1.7 percent, with 18 of 20 stocks increasing. Qatar Fuel added 4.2 percent and Mesaieed Petrochemical was up 5.8 percent. Last year, their parent company, state-owned energy firm, Qatar Petroleum said it would raise the foreign ownership limit in its listed-units to up to 49 percent after limits on foreign ownership were amended. The increase in foreign ownership limit was approved by the companies' shareholders in their annual general meeting. Qatar Fuel and Mesaieed could also be included in the MSCI emerging market index in May, which will bring in passive inflows of $231 million and $197 million, respectively, Arqaam Capital said in a note. "This is primarily local as well as global investors, taking an active allocation in the names prior to their index inclusions and given the lack of liquidity in some of these names, this has led to the significant rally in prices," said Rami Jamal, portfolio manager at Amwal in Doha. Qatar International Islamic Bank rose 1.4 percent. On Monday, the lender's shareholders also approved an increase in its foreign ownership limit to 49 percent from 25 percent. Saudi Arabia's index added 1 percent with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 2.3 percent and National Commercial Bank , the country's largest lender, rising 2.9 percent. Kingdom Holding and Saudi Telecom rose as they benefited from Uber's deal to buy Middle East's Careem. Kingdom Holding increased 0.7 percent after selling its stake in the ride-hailing app for 1.25 billion riyals ($333.31 million), while Saudi Telecom rose 0.4 percent after saying it expects to receive around $274 million from the deal. Last week, Saudi entered FTSE Russell's emerging-market index, and this year will join the MSCI emerging market benchmark. Foreign investors in the Saudi market seem to have increased again as the first phase of its inclusion appeared to go seamlessly and as foreign investor concerns over locals oversupplying the market appear to have partially abated, Arqaam Capital said. The Egyptian blue-chip index dropped 0.6 percent, led by a 2.2 percent decline in Egypt's largest lender Commercial International Bank and a 4.5 percent fall in El Sewedy Electric. Global Telecom Holding fell 3.1 percent. The telecom operator said its board extended maturity of its $100 million revolving credit facility from VEON. Madinet Nasr slipped 2.8 percent. The firm approved the sale of its non-residential land plot for 184.8 million Egyptian pounds ($10.69 million). The Abu Dhabi index slipped 0.3 percent with the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank losing 0.8 percent and Emirates Telecommunications Group dropping 0.2 percent. Dubai's index was flat, with its largest listed-developer Emaar Properties sliding 1.7 percent. SAUDI ARABIA The index was up 1 pct at 8,766 points ABU DHABI The index fell 0.3 pct to 5,109 points DUBAI The index was flat at 2,614 points QATAR The index gained 1.7 pct to 10,105 points EGYPT The index was down 0.6 pct at 14,555 points KUWAIT The index rose 0.9 pct to 5,951 points OMAN The index edged down 0.1 pct to 4,047 points BAHRAIN The index added 0.4 pct to 1,413 points ($1 = 3.7503 riyals) ($1 = 17.2800 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Gareth Jones)

Majestic Wine scales back as sharpens focus on Naked Wines

25 Mar 2019

Majestic Wine PLC said on Monday it would sell some assets, close stores and review its dividend to focus on its growth engine, Naked Wines, as it seeks to fend off competition from discount markets and online rivals.

UPDATE 2-Majestic Wine scales back as sharpens focus on Naked Wines

25 Mar 2019

* Strategy change "drastic and unexpected" - Liberum analysts

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi closes at near 4-year high as it joins FTSE Russell index

18 Mar 2019

* Saudi also records best one-day intraday gain since Feb 5 * All Saudi banks gain * 159.2 mln Saudi shares traded for 3.6 bln riyals * Abu Dhabi's Dana Gas adds on share buyback plan By Shakeel Ahmad and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan March 18 Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index closed at its highest in nearly four years on Monday as bank shares rose on its first day as a member of FTSE Russell's emerging-market index, which is expected to attract billions in passive fund inflows. Saudi's Tadawul index will have a weighting of 2.9 percent in the FTSE Emerging All Cap Index and later this year will join the MSCI emerging market benchmark. The market is positioned for passive fund inflows of around $20 billion. The kingdom is hoping its inclusion in the indexes will fuel its drive to become a major destination for foreign capital, after its global reputation was tainted by the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October. In the short term, the upside is limited since this was a well-flagged event, Al Mal MENA Equity Fund said in a note. In the long-term there are positive implications not just for the Saudi market but for the region as a whole. With foreigners, there will be more institutional participants who are research-driven and bringing more discipline to the market, the note added. Saudi Arabia's listed companies could see holdings by foreign investors rise to 10 percent when shares are included in index providers MSCI and FTSE's emerging markets indices, Tadawul's Chief Executive told Reuters. The index has gained 10 percent this year, outperforming its major Gulf peers, and foreigners have led the buying, with foreign investors now net buyers of 9.6 billion riyals of stocks year-to-date, Arqaam Capital said. Saudi's Tadawul index rose 1.1 percent with 159.2 million shares traded for a value of 3.6 billion riyals ($960 million). Al Rajhi Bank gained 0.8 percent and blue-chip petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) added 1 percent. "We expect SABIC to see the biggest inflow of more than $110 million while Al Rajhi and National Commercial Bank are close behind," Nick Wilson, chairman of the Gulf Investment Fund Plc, said. Abdullah Abdul Mohsin Al Khodari Sons surged 10 percent. The stock has risen since shareholders voted against the dissolution of the company. The Abu Dhabi index rose 1.8 percent, lifted by a 3.2 percent rise in First Abu Dhabi Bank. International Holding climbed 5 percent after it called a shareholders' meeting to approve a capital increase by 1.31 billion dirhams ($357 million). Dana Gas gained 1.8 percent. On Sunday, the firm approved plans for a sukuk buyback and said it plans to seek approval to buy back 690 million shares. In Dubai, the index was up 1.6 percent with Dubai Islamic Bank gaining 3.2 percent. The emirate's largest listed developer, Emaar Properties, rose 2.2 percent after saying its board will meet on Wednesday to discuss the proposal for a full-year dividend. Marie Salem, director capital markets at FFA Private Bank Dubai, said foreigners are continuing to accumulate bank shares across the United Arab Emirates. Qatar's index increased 1.1 percent. Qatar Islamic Bank added 3 percent and the Middle East's largest lender, Qatar National Bank, rose 1.5 percent. Egypt's blue-chip index was down 0.8 percent with its major lender Commercial International Bank shedding 1.7 percent. ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) ($1 = 3.7502 riyals) SAUDI The index rose 1.1 pct to 8,653 points ARABIA ABU DHABI The index rose 1.8 pct to 5,067 points DUBAI The index gained 1.6 pct to 2,620 points QATAR The index rose 1.1 pct to 9,973 points EGYPT The index fell 0.8 pct to 14,911 points KUWAIT The index was up 0.3 pct to 5,689 points OMAN The index rose 1 pct to 4,128 points BAHRAIN The index edged up 0.2 pct to 1,413 points (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru and Saeed Azhar in Dubai; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi hits multi-year peak, blue-chip banks lift Qatar

14 Mar 2019

* Abu Dhabi's FAB records best day in nearly 3 years * Qatar on track for best day since Aug 2018 * Dubai's DP World jumps on higher FY profit * Saudi's Al Khodari surges after dissolution voted down By Shakeel Ahmad and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan March 14 The Abu Dhabi stock market climbed sharply on Thursday for its biggest one-day gain in nearly three years while Qatar was lifted by its blue-chip banks to its best day in seven months. The Abu Dhabi index rose 3.7 percent. First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the United Arab Emirates' biggest bank, surged 6.5 percent and Emirates Telecommunications added 5.2 percent. With FTSE and S&P index rebalancing ataking place across emerging markets on Thursday there were sizeable inflows into heavyweights First Abu Dhabi and Emirates Telecommunications, which account for about 70 percent of the Abu Dhabi index, said Mohamad Al Hajj, head of MENA equity strategy for EFG Hermes. Late last month FAB shareholders approved an increase in the limit of foreign ownership to 40 percent of its shares, up from 25 percent. FAB expects the MSCI to reflect the foreign ownership limit's increase during its May index review, Arqaam Capital said, adding that the brokerage expects about $615 million of inflows from MSCI and $275 million from FTSE. Qatar's index rose 2.1 percent, with Industries Qatar , the stock with the biggest weighting on the index, climbing 3 percent and Qatar Islamic Bank up 3.2 percent. The index is down 4.8 percent this year, lagging behind Gulf peers. This is in sharp contrast to last year, when the index was one of the world's best-performing markets after the raising of the limit on foreign ownership of Qatari stocks. Some analysts consider the market to be overvalued, with other regional markets offering better valuations. In Dubai, the index fell 1 percent. Dubai Islamic Bank lost 6.5 percent as the stock traded ex-dividend. Banks in the UAE are expected to suffer a rise in loan losses over the next 12 to 18 months as a decline in real estate prices and rising interest rates reduce borrowers' cashflows, according to Moody's. But DP World, the Dubai-Nasdaq listed port operator, climbed 6.2 percent in light trade after posting 2018 profit up 10.2 percent. Saudi Arabia's index was up 0.7 percent, with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 0.9 percent. Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC), the Middle East's largest petrochemicals maker, rose 1 percent after announcing on Wednesday that it will merge its Saudi Petrochemical Co and Arabian Petrochemical Co businesses. The deal, due to complete in the second half of the year, is part of SABIC's efforts to increase efficiency globally. Abdullah Abdul Mohsin Al Khodari Sons rose 10 percent after its shareholders voted down dissolution of the company and instead approved capital restructuring. Egypt's blue-chip index was down 0.9 percent, with Commercial International Bank shedding 1.9 percent and El Sewedy Electric slipping by 1.7 percent. The index has gained 15 percent so far this year, compared with an 8.8 percent gain for the MSCI's index of developing world stocks. SAUDI The index rose 0.7 pct to 8,583 points ARABIA ABU DHABI The index rose 3.7 pct to 4,998 points DUBAI The index fell 1 pct to 2,574 points QATAR The index rose 2.1 pct to 9,971 points EGYPT The index fell 0.9 pct to 14,991 points KUWAIT The index rose 1.2 pct to 5,667 points OMAN The index was flat at 4,075 points BAHRAIN The index fell 0.2 pct to 1,409 points (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru Editing by David Goodman)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf markets fall, Egypt lifted by blue-chips

07 Mar 2019

* 10 out of 11 banks slide in Saudi * Saudi International drops after merger update * Qatar Electricity, Doha Bank push Qatar to 5-month low * Egypt's SODIC gains on dividend declaration By Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Ateeq Shariff March 7 Most major Gulf markets slipped sharply on Thursday, with a possible increase to Islamic tax pulling down Saudi Arabia's banks and Qatar hitting a five-month low. Saudi Arabia's index was down 0.6 percent due to a sell-off in its bank stocks, with Al Rajhi Bank shedding 2 percent and the country's largest bank, National Commercial Bank, declining 2.1 percent. The kingdom is considering plans to increase an Islamic tax paid by local banks to as much as 20 percent, or double the current rate, Bloomberg reported. Banks have been at loggerheads with the authorities since last year over additional payments of Zakat - the name of the religious tax - for years going back as far as 2002. Saudi International Petrochemical slipped 1.5 percent. The firm said potential synergies from a possible merger with Sahara Petrochemical is expected to bring an extra 175-225 million riyals recurrent EBITDA earnings per year. Sahara added 0.4 percent. The Dubai index fell 1.2 percent, with Emaar Properties dropping 3.1 percent and Emirates NBD sliding 1.6 percent. Dubai's property prices were partly behind the index's worst performance compared with other major markets last year. While strong fourth-quarter results from its real estate firms lifted stocks this year, the sector continues to suffer from excess supply. "The fundamentals, the macroeconomic effect is still clouding the scene. The uncertainty, the ambiguity, the negative press investors are seeing are pushing the index down and the earlier rotation away from Saudi into UAE is kind of dissipating now," said Talal Samhouri, head of asset management at Amwal LLC said. The Qatar index was down 1 percent to its lowest in five months as Qatar Electricity and Water dropped 5.4 percent and Doha Bank lost 4.6 percent. Their shareholders approved amending the nominal value of a share to one riyal ($0.2667) from 10 riyals, a regulatory decision to attract investment. The Abu Dhabi index fell 1.3 percent, with the United Arab Emirates' largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank losing 2.3 percent and Agthia Group decreasing 3.4 percent. Growth in the UAE's non-oil sector slowed to a 28-month low in February amid weaker increase in new business, according to a survey. The employment index also fell to 47.5 percent. The reason for Gulf markets' weakness is "probably a combination of the employment tracker at its weakest, and in general investors are getting a bit cautious and taking some money off the table," said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. Egypt's blue-chip index was the exception, rising 1.8 percent, as its largest lender Commercial International Bank Egypt gained 2.5 percent and El Sewedy Electric jumped 5.6 percent. Sixth Of October Development And Investment hiked 3.1 percent after posting a rise in full-year operating revenue and declared its first dividend payout since 2011. SAUDI ARABIA The index slipped 0.6 pct to 8,479 points DUBAI The index was down 1.2 pct at 2,595 points QATAR The index fell 1 pct to 9,781 points ABU DHABI The index lost 1.3 pct to 4,914 points EGYPT The index was up 1.8 pct at 14,904 points KUWAIT The index was flat at 5,597 points OMAN The index lost 1 pct to 4,113 points BAHRAIN The index dropped 0.1 pct to 1,409 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Nafisa Eltahir in Dubai; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

Countrywide hit by Brexit effect on housing market

07 Mar 2019

Countrywide Plc on Thursday forecast flat earnings in 2019, citing uncertainty in the housing market due to Brexit, sending shares in Britain's largest estate agent down around 15 percent.

UPDATE 2-Countrywide hit by Brexit effect on housing market

07 Mar 2019

* Shares down around 15 percent (Adds CEO, analyst comment, debt details)

World News