Edition:
India

Ateeq Shariff

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi snaps losing streak, other Gulf markets mixed

17 Jun 2019

* NCB, Riyad Bank gain after JP Morgan raised TP * Elsewedy gains on acquisition of energy assets * Financial stocks weigh on Abu Dhabi * 16 of 20 stocks on Qatar's index slide * Dubai's Salama rises after electing chairman By Ateeq Shariff June 17 The Saudi market rose moderately on Monday, recovering some losses from previous sessions with most of its stocks gaining. Other indexes in the Gulf were mixed with Abu Dhabi and Qatar extending losses following last week’s oil tanker attacks. The United States blamed Iran for attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday raising fears of a new U.S.-Iranian confrontation. Tehran denied the allegation. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday urged the international community to take a "decisive stand" but said Riyadh does not want a war. The Saudi index rose 1% with Saudi Arabian Mining Co gaining 3.9% and Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company jumping 6.2%. National Commercial Bank (NCB) and Riyad Bank added 1% and 1.3% respectively after JP Morgan raised their target prices. In Egypt, the index increased 0.2 percent with Commercial International Bank closing 1.1% higher and Elsewedy Electric was up 2.4%. The latter on Sunday acquired a portfolio of renewable energy assets in Greece for a total consideration of 55 million euros. The Abu Dhabi index extended its losses for the third straight session mainly pressured by its financial stocks. A 0.8% slide in First Abu Dhabi Bank, and a 2.7% drop in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank pushed the index down by 1.1%. Emirates Telecommunications (Etisalat) was down 1.2%. A prospectus published on Saturday by the bourse regulator AMMC showed that the Moroccan government is selling 8% stake in Maroc Telecom, in which Etisalat owns 53%, to local investors. Analysts see the stake sale to local institutional investors as a way to prevent Etisalat further increasing its stake. Qatar's index declined 0.9 percent with market heavyweight Industries Qatar dropping 2.1% and Commercial Bank losing 3.1%. In Dubai, the index traded flat with telecom operator Emirates Integrated Telecommunications gaining 1%. The company said on Sunday the United Arab Emirates' sovereign wealth fund, Emirates Investment Authority, had increased its stake by buying 463.3 million shares from Mamoura Diversified Global Holding and General Investments. Islamic Arab Insurance (Salama) surged 3.9%. On Monday, the board elected Jassim Alseddiqi as chairman. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 1% to 8,976 points ABU DHABI The index slid 1.1% to 4,901 points DUBAI The index was flat at 2,614 points QATAR The index lost 0.9% to 10,390 points EGYPT The index added 0.2% to 14,241 points BAHRAIN The index was flat at 1,450 points OMAN The index was up 0.1% at 3,919 points KUWAIT The index edged up 0.1% to 6,356 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi leads Gulf lower after attacks on tankers

13 Jun 2019

* 10 of 12 Saudi banks drop * Saudi ends five days of gains * 22 of 23 Dubai stocks slide * Real estate shares lift Egypt By Ateeq Shariff June 13 The Saudi Arabian stock market snapped a five-day winning streak as attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman dampened investor sentiment in the region, while all major Gulf markets also declined. Two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, leaving one ablaze and both adrift, shipping firms said, driving oil prices as much as 4% higher over worries about Middle East supplies. Thursday's attacks were the second in a month near the Strait of Hormuz, a major strategic waterway for world oil supplies. The United States and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for limpet mine attacks in May on four tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a charge Tehran denies. Saudi's share index fell 1.6% with 10 stocks declining for every one gaining. Al Rajhi Bank slid 1.9% and heavyweight petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries shed 2.2%. The index is still up over 14% year-to-date, outperforming its major Gulf peers in a rally led by foreign investors. In Dubai, the index was down 1.2% with 22 of its stocks declining and one rising. Emaar Properties closed 1.5% lower, while Dubai Islamic Bank lost 1.4%. In Qatar, a 2.4% drop in lender Masraf Al Rayan and a 1.9% fall in Qatar Fuel pushed the index 1% lower. The Abu Dhabi index slipped 0.5% with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank dropping 2.4% and Aldar Properties retreating 3.7%. Egypt's blue-chip index edged up 0.2%, helped by Sixth Of October Development and Investment which gained 5.8%. SAUDI ARABIA The index declined 1.6% to 8,942 points ABU DHABI The index slid 0.5% to 4,964 points DUBAI The index fell 1.2% to 2,633 points QATAR The index lost 1% to 10,516 points EGYPT The index added 0.2% to 14,181 points BAHRAIN The index edged down 0.1% to 1,449 points OMAN The index was down 1.1% at 3,918 points KUWAIT The index decreased 1% to 6,391 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks bolster Saudi, financials drag Abu Dhabi

11 Jun 2019

* All Saudi banks gain * Malath rises on insurance deal renewal * Doha Bank surges ahead of stock split * Top lender elevates Egypt By Ateeq Shariff June 11 Saudi Arabia's stock market rose sharply for the fourth session on Tuesday, boosted mainly by its banking shares on expectations of further capital inflows, while Abu Dhabi was weighed down by financials. The Saudi index was up 1.6% with all its banks gaining. Al Rajhi Bank added 1.5% and National Commercial Bank climbed 3.3%. The index has gained nearly 15% year-to-date, outperforming other major Gulf peers in a rally led by foreign investors, who have been net buyers of Saudi stocks every month this year. A third tranche of the FTSE Russell emerging market index will kick in this month after Saudi stocks were included in two tranches in March and April. Late last month, the Saudi equity market joined the MSCI Emerging Market index, which is expected to trigger billions of dollars of foreign fund inflows. Malath Cooperative Insurance added 3.1% after it renewed a vehicle insurance contract with Arab National Bank for a year with premiums from the deal expected to exceed 5% of the firm's total annual sales. The Abu Dhabi index declined 0.6% after rising in five of the last six sessions, with most of its financial stocks sliding. First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates' largest lender, dropped 0.8% and Emirates Telecommunications was down 1.1%. Qatar this week placed further restrictions on First Abu Dhabi Bank as it continues a probe into alleged currency manipulation begun after the UAE and other Arab states launched a boycott against Qatar in mid-2017. The Regulatory Authority of Qatar Financial Center said on Sunday it was prohibiting the bank from undertaking any new business for customers of its Doha branch. FAB has denied the charges. But Waha Capital added 1.3% after it parted ways with chief executive Michael Raynes and named one of its board members as managing director in search of a new growth strategy. Qatar's index rose 0.8% with financials leading the gains. The market heavyweight, lender Qatar National Bank , rose 2.1% and Doha Bank jumped 5% ahead of a split of their stocks taking effect later this week. A 10-to-one stock split for companies on the exchange is being phased in from June 9, aiming to boost liquidity by encouraging smaller investors to buy shares. Egypt's blue-chip index closed 0.4% higher, as a 2.2% gain in its heavyweight lender Commercial International Bank offset other declining stocks. In Dubai, the index traded flat with budget airline Air Arabia gaining 2.9% and Dubai Islamic Bank losing 1%. The lender rose in the previous session after its board proposed acquiring private lender Noor Bank. SAUDI ARABIA The index increased 1.6% to 8,990 points ABU DHABI The index lost 0.6% to 4,966 points DUBAI The index was flat at 2,675 points QATAR The index rose 0.8% to 10,584 points EGYPT The index gained 0.4% to 14,206 points BAHRAIN The index was down 0.1% at 1,450 points OMAN The index was up 0.2% at 3,983 points KUWAIT The index added 0.9% to 6,497 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar jumps on PM’s visit to Saudi as major Gulf markets leap

30 May 2019

* Qatar enjoys best day in 9 months * Lender FAB, Etisalat boost Abu Dhabi * Saudi's SIPCHEM gains after CEO appointment * 28 of 30 Egyptian stocks slide By Ateeq Shariff May 30 Qatar's stock market surged to its biggest intra-day high in nine months on Thursday after report that Qatar's prime minister will attend an Arab summit in Saudi Arabia, while all major Gulf bourses also rallied mostly riding on financial stocks. Qatar's prime minister will attend an Arab summit in Saudi Arabia on Thursday to discuss regional security, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, the highest level Qatari official to visit the kingdom during a diplomatic rift. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed an economic and diplomatic boycott on Qatar in June 2017 over allegations that Doha supports terrorism, a charge Qatar denies. Qatar's index rose 3.4% to hit its sharpest intra-day high since August 2018. Banks led the gains with Qatar National Bank leaping 4.4% and Commercial Bank soaring 9%. "Euphoria in Qatar today is on the back of a report that the PM will attend the Gulf summit over the weekend - this is the most senior official to go to the Kingdom since the embargo in 2017," said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. "Another factor is the stock split, that is change in par value from QAR 10 to 1, which local retail investors see as a catalyst." A 10-to-one stock split for companies on the exchange will be phased in from June 9, aiming to encourage small investors to invest to increase liquidity. The Abu Dhabi index climbed 2.8%, rising for the fourth straight session. First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates' largest lender, jumped 4.1% to 14.9 dirhams, while Emirates Telecommunications Group was up 4.5%. First Abu Dhabi Bank shares touched a record 17 dirhams late last month following a foreign ownership limit increase to 40% from 25%. But the stock has seen cooling since then, under pressure from the global trade dispute and geopolitical worries, and as MSCI retained its foreign inclusion factor at 25%, disregarding the foreign ownership limit rise. The session's rise has sent the index back into positive territory this year after a sell-off earlier in May had turned the index red. Saudi's index was up 1.2% a day after joining MSCI's emerging market index. Banks and petrochemical shares were the biggest boost, led by Riyad Bank, which climbed 3.1% and petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries, which traded 1.6% up. Sahara International Petrochemical gained 4.2% after on Wednesday it appointed Saleh Muhammed Bahamdan its chief executive. In Dubai, the index closed 0.8% higher, boosted by financial and real estate shares with its largest listed developer, Emaar Properties, adding 1.4% and the biggest lender Emirate's NBD, gaining 0.9%. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index closed 1.4% lower as 28 of its 30 stocks declined. Real estate shares were the biggest drag with real estate investment firm Talaat Mostafa Group Holding shedding 4.5%. Global Telecom dropped 5.3%. It said on Thursday the firm was in discussions with the Egyptian Tax Authority on certain tax claims. SAUDI ARABIA The index increased 1.2% to 8,516 points ABU DHABI The index was up 2.8% to 5,004 points DUBAI The index rose 0.8% to 2,620 points QATAR The index hiked 3.4% to 10,273 points EGYPT The index dropped 1.4% at 13,771 points BAHRAIN The index gained 0.2% to 1,434 points OMAN The index lost 0.2% to 3,934 points KUWAIT The index added 0.6% to 6,242 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Frances Kerry)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar, Saudi rise on financials; Property drags Dubai

27 May 2019

* Banks gain in Qatar * Saudi Steel Pipes sees best day in 4 months * Saudi's Savola rebounds * All property shares slide in Dubai By Ateeq Shariff May 27 Qatar and Saudi Arabia's stock markets rose on Monday, helped by financial companies, while Dubai's was pressured by the real estate sector. Qatar's index rose 0.9% as banks gained. Qatar Islamic Bank surged 8.7% and the Middle East's biggest lender, Qatar National Bank, added 2.2%. Qatar's stock exchange is developing two new Exchange Traded Funds, part of efforts by the Middle East's strongest performing stock market in 2018 to boost foreign investment, Reuters reported last week, citing CEO Rashid al-Mansoori. Companies on Qatar's exchange in 2018 increased foreign ownership limits to 49%, most of which had previously been set at 25%, drawing a flood of cash that helped to boost the main index by more than 20% last year. "Now the minimum will be 49% for all Qatari companies ... this will attract more liquidity and more room for foreign investors to invest," said Mansoori. Saudi's stock index was up 0.3%, with market heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries gaining 1.1% and Saudi British Bank closing 3.4% higher. The country's biggest food products company, Savola Group , jumped 5.9%, rebounding from a 6.2% drop in the last session. Saudi Steel Pipes surged 10% to its biggest percentage gain since January after cutting its accumulated losses to zero as of December 2018. MSCI said earlier this month that it would include MSCI Saudi Arabia in its emerging markets index, effective May 28, a move that could draw billions of dollars into the market. MSCI said 30 Saudi Arabian securities would be added, representing an aggregate weight of 1.42% in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. Dubai's index fell 0.3% with all its property stocks sliding. Emaar Properties shed 0.5% and its unit Emaar Malls was down 1.1%. Emaar Properties has hired advisors including Standard Chartered for the sale of its district cooling business, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters, as part of a broader plan to offload non-core activities. Property prices have been falling since a mid-2014 peak, hurt by weaker oil prices and muted sales, which in part were behind the index's poor performance the last year. Egypt's blue-chip index slid 0.2%, with Juhayna Food slumping 8.6% and Eastern Company down 2.4%. The Abu Dhabi index edged up 0.1%, lifted by a 2.7% gain in energy firm Dana Gas. SAUDI ARABIA The index added 0.3% to 8,382 points ABU DHABI The index edged up 0.1% to 4,779 points DUBAI The index fell 0.3% to 2,575 points QATAR The index rose 0.9% to 9,784 points EGYPT The index was down 0.2% at 13,960 points BAHRAIN The index gained 0.2% to 1,413 points OMAN The index slid 0.2% to 3,865 points KUWAIT The index was up 0.8% to 6,091 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Catherine Evans)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Financials, property elevate Dubai, most of Gulf up

22 May 2019

* All real estate firms gain in Dubai * Saudi's Arabian Centres slides in market debut * Lender FAB weighs on Abu Dhabi * El Sewedy continues to gain on new firm establishment By Ateeq Shariff May 22 Dubai's stock market rose sharply on Wednesday, buoyed by financial and real estate shares, to lead gains in most major Gulf bourses. Dubai's index closed 1.8% higher with all its real estate shares gaining. Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties added 2.6% and market heavyweight lender Emirates NBD was up 2.8%. Locals and foreigners bought selectively on the Dubai Financial Market, especially in the real estate and construction space, said Harsh Oza, vice president for research at Shuaa Capital. "The sector has underperformed the broader market over the past one month. The newly announced residency visa initiative by UAE seems to be the factor behind the real estate stock rally," he added. The United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday that it will grant 6,800 foreign investors permanent residency under a new "Golden Card" system after they invested a combined 100 billion dirhams ($27.23 billion) in the Gulf state. Arabtec Holding continued rebounding and jumped 5.6% after on Tuesday it snapped four straight sessions of losses on weak first-quarter earnings. Saudi's index increased 0.5%. Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development soared 7.9% and Sahara International Petrochemical surged 5.6%, extending its gains from Tuesday when it completed the merger of equals with Sahara Petrochemical, which delisted on May 20. However, Saudi Arabian mall operator Arabian Centres fell 3.9% to 25 riyals from its initial public offer price of 26 riyals. Arabian Centres' share sale, which raised 2.47 billion riyals ($658.65 million), was the kingdom's third biggest since Saudi lender National Commercial Bank raised $6 billion in 2014, according to Refinitiv data. Qatar's index gained 0.6% with blue-chip petrochemical maker Industries Qatar trading 1.4% higher. Gulf International Services hiked 5.1% after its unit Al Koot Insurance And Reinsurance signed a two-year deal with Qatar Airways to provide health care services. The Abu Dhabi index slipped 0.7% led by a 1.7% drop in First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country's largest lender. The lender has mostly fallen in recent sessions after MSCI decided to maintain its foreign inclusion factor at 25%, despite a recent foreign ownership limit increase to 40% from 25%. Egypt's blue-chip index inched up 0.4% as Egypt Kuwait Holding rose 3.9%. Last week, the firm reported a higher first-quarter profit. El Sewedy Electric hiked 2.4% after saying on Tuesday it had partnered with General Authority For Suez Canal Economic Zone to establish a new company with issued capital of 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($59.17 million), in which the firm will own 49%. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 0.5% to 8,656 points ABU DHABI The index fell 0.7% to 4,750 points DUBAI The index added 1.8% to 2,584 points QATAR The index gained 0.6% to 9,758 points EGYPT The index was up 0.4% at 13,664 points BAHRAIN The index edged up 0.1% to 1,411 points OMAN The index closed 0.5% higher to 3,861 points KUWAIT The index increased 0.1% to 6,063 points ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) ($1 = 16.9000 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Global rally lifts most of Gulf, blue-chips drag Qatar

21 May 2019

* 11 of 12 Saudi banks rise * Dubai's National Cement gains on asset purchase * Dana Gas surges on drilling commencement * Qatar's Mesaieed ends six days of gains * El Sewedy jumps on new firm establishment By Ateeq Shariff May 21 Saudi Arabia's stock market rose sharply on Tuesday, leading gains in most major Gulf bourses amid a global rally after Washington temporarily eased trade restrictions imposed last week on China's Huawei. Qatar dropped on wide sell-off. Saudi's index increased 1.7%, with Al Rajhi Bank adding 2.2% and Saudi Basic Industries up 3.3%. "Middle East today is following the positive lead from Global markets. Local sentiment is also better as evidenced by the strong moves in small cap stocks," said Vrajesh Bhandari senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. "We expect Saudi Arabia to continue its upward trend until at least the MSCI effective date May 28," added Vrajesh. "Thereafter, investors need to be selective & follow a bottom up approach. Overall, we find better value in UAE & Egypt." MSCI last week said it would include MSCI Saudi Arabia in its emerging-markets index, effective May 28, a move that could draw billions of dollars into the market. Saudi International Petrochemical closed 3.4% higher. The firm completed the merger of equals with Sahara Petrochemical, which delisted on May 20. Qatar's index was down 2%, with 17 of its 20 stocks sliding. Middle East's largest lender, Qatar National Bank, dropped 2.4%, while Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding plunged 10%, snapping a six-day winning streak triggered by the stock inclusion in MSCI's index. Egypt's blue-chip index, gained 1.7% as most of its stocks rose, with Market heavyweight Commercial International Bank gaining 0.9%. El Sewedy Electric jumped 5.9% after it partnered with General Authority For Suez Canal Economic Zone to establish a new company with issued capital of 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($58.82 million), in which the firm will own 49%. Abu Dhabi's index closed 1.1% higher, led by a 1.3% increase in the country's largest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank . Dana Gas jumped 4.1% after the energy firm said it had started drilling operations at Merak-1 well, offshore Egypt. National Marine Dredging soared 13.9% after last week reporting a higher first-quarter earnings. The Dubai index rose 1% as all but one of its real estate stocks rose. Emaar Properties, Dubai's largest listed-developer, increased 2.9% while its units Emaar Malls and Emaar Development were up 2.3 and 3% respectively. The United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday that it will grant 6,800 foreign investors permanent residency under a new "Golden Card" system after they invested a combined 100 billion dirhams ($27.23 billion) in the Gulf state. National Cement Company was up 1.7% after news it had bought ARM Cement's Kenyan assets for $50 million. Arabtec Holding rebounded 2.1%, snapping four straight sessions of losses on weak first-quarter earnings. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 1.7% at 8,609 points ABU DHABI The index was up 1.1% at 4,782 points DUBAI The index added 1% to 2,539 points QATAR The index lost 2% to 9,701 points EGYPT The index was up 1.7% at 13,614 points BAHRAIN The index gained 0.9% to 1,409 points OMAN The index slid 0.1% to 3,842 points KUWAIT The index increased 0.9% to 6,058 points ($1 = 3.7500 riyals) ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirham) ($1 = 17.0000 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Frances Kerry)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks propel Saudi, lender FAB drags Abu Dhabi

16 May 2019

* 11 of 12 Saudi banks rise * SABB, Alawwal gain on shareholders' nod for merger * FAB continues to slide on MSCI decision * All but one real estate shares fall in Dubai * Qatar's Mesaieed extends gains on MSCI inclusion By Ateeq Shariff May 16 Saudi Arabia's stock market rose for a third straight session on Thursday, rebounding from recent sell-offs and ahead of MSCI inclusion later this month. Abu Dhabi was pressured by its top-lender. On Monday, MSCI said that it would include MSCI Saudi Arabia in its emerging-markets index, effective May 28, a move that could draw billions of dollars into the market. MSCI said 30 Saudi Arabian securities would be added, representing an aggregate weight of 1.42% in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. The Saudi index was up 1.7% with Al Rajhi Bank adding 2.5%, while Saudi Basic Industries was up 1.3%. Saudi Telecom jumped 5.1% after HSBC raised its target price. The three stocks are the largest additions to the MSCI Emerging Markets Index measured by full company market capitalization. Saudi British Bank and Alawwal Bank added 1.6% and 2.3% respectively after their shareholders approved a planned merger. The Abu Dhabi index slid for the fourth straight session, down 1.2%, with Emirates Telecommunications Group shedding 1.7%. First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates' largest lender, shed 2.1%. The lender fell in recent sessions after MSCI decided to maintain its foreign inclusion factor at 25%, despite recent foreign ownership limit increase to 40% from 25%. The bank said on Thursday that it was seeking clarification from MSCI on limiting its free float at 25% and added that MSCI's decision was subjective and didn't match publicly available disclosures. Egypt's blue-chip index, lost 1% with Commercial International Bank falling 1% and Juhayna Food Industries slumping 9.7%. In Dubai, the index dipped 0.3%, weighed down by its real estate stocks. Contractor Arabtec Holding plunged 7%. On Wednesday, the firm reported a 50% drop in its first-quarter profit. Union Properties shed 2.8% after reporting a plunge in its first-quarter profit. Dubai property prices have fallen since a mid-2014 peak, hurt by weaker oil prices and muted sales. Qatar's index edged up 0.1% with Mesaieed Petrochemical gaining 2.9%. The stock has been rising since it was added to the MSCI index earlier this week. But a few banks dropped, with Qatar International Islamic Bank closing 1.7% lower. Qatari banks face growing pressure from high exposure to the country's sluggish real estate market, hit by oversupply tied to preparations for its 2022 World Cup, ratings agency Fitch said. ​ SAUDI ARABIA The index was up 1.7% at 8,622 points ABU DHABI The index dropped 1.2% to 4,719 points DUBAI The index fell 0.3% to 2,575 points QATAR The index edged up 0.1% to 9,872 points EGYPT The index declined 1% to 13,660 points BAHRAIN The index lost 0.6% to 1,400 points OMAN The index rose 0.8% to 3,859 points KUWAIT The index rose 1.6% to 6,108 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia up on banks, weak earnings hurt Dubai

15 May 2019

* All Saudi banks gain on MSCI inclusion * DAMAC Properties hits life-time low * Arabtec, Aldar decline on weak Q1 results * 26 of 30 stocks on Egypt's index fall * Mesaieed highest since June 2015 By Ateeq Shariff May 15 Saudi Arabia's stock market rose moderately on Wednesday, lifted by its banking shares following index provider MSCI's decision to include multiple lenders, while Dubai was pressured by a string of disappointing corporate earnings. Saudi Arabia's index increased 1.3% with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 2.1% and Alinma Bank rising 2.6%, while National Commercial Bank was up 0.9%. "The 10% to 15% correction in large caps especially the top banks made them look pretty reasonable in terms of valuations," said Vrajesh Bhandari portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. "And therefore, we are seeing interest in these names before the MSCI inclusion gets effected later this month (potentially) driving in $7 billion to the market. Having said that, investors need to have a close eye on geo-political factors." The index fell as much as 2.1% on Tuesday after drone attacks but recovered to close 0.1% higher. Saudi Arabia said drones had struck oil pumping stations two days after its oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. "With rising tensions between Iran and the U.S., and with significant naval build-up in the region, markets are sensitive to news and can be tipped by the smallest signs of a conflict," said Mihir Kapadia, chief executive officer of Sun Global Investments. In Dubai, the index closed 1.1% lower with real estate firm Emaar Properties dropping 2.3%. Arabtec Holding plunged 7%, its biggest intraday loss since mid-November, as its first-quarter profit halved to 31.8 million dirhams ($8.66 million) from 63.6 million dirhams the year before. DAMAC Properties lost 2.9% after it posted a 94% drop in its first-quarter net profit. A slump in the Dubai property market hurt the company, which reported its smallest net profit since going public in 2015. Amusement park operator DXB Entertainment declined 5.1% on a wider first-quarter loss. Its aim to reach an EBITDA break-even by the second half of 2020 was challenging, considering weak first-quarter revenue growth and footfall, Arqaam Capital said in a note. Egypt's blue-chip index, declined 1.5% with El Sewedy Electric shedding 3.5% and Eastern Company was down 1.5%. The Abu Dhabi index fell 0.5%, led by a 0.6% fall in First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB). Index provider MSCI decided against increasing FAB's foreign inclusion factor, despite the lender raising its foreign ownership limit to 40% from 25%. Aldar Properties dipped 2.3% after the realtor reported a drop in its first-quarter profit. Qatar's blue chip index added 0.7% with Mesaieed Petrochemical soaring 9.5%, to reach its highest in nearly four years. On Tueday, MSCI included Mesaieed and Qatar Fuel in the index review. Qatar Fuel was down 0.2%. SAUDI ARABIA The index was up 1.3% at 8,481 points ABU DHABI The index dropped 0.5% to 4,778 points DUBAI The index fell 1.1% to 2,584 points QATAR The index added 0.7% to 9,864 points EGYPT The index declined 1.5% to 13,809 points BAHRAIN The index was flat at 1,409 points OMAN The index was also flat at 3,828 points KUWAIT The index rose 0.2% to 6,011 points ($1 = 3.6729 UAE dirham) (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai Investments weighs on Dubai index, banks lift Saudi

25 Apr 2019

* Dubai Investments slumps after trading ex-dividend * Takaful Emarat slides on acquisition withdrawal * Riyad Bank continues to gain on strong Q1 results * Industries Qatar slides for third session By Ateeq Shariff April 25 Dubai's stock market fell on Thursday, pressured by Dubai Investments trading ex-dividend, while banks lifted the Saudi index. Dubai's index dropped 0.5 percent, with Dubai Investments plunging 9.8 percent to its biggest one-day loss since August 2015, as the stock went ex-dividend. Takaful Emarat Insurance was down 1.3 percent after it said it will no longer proceed with the proposed acquisition of Al Hilal Takaful. Dubai Entertainment inched up 0.4 percent after shareholders voted to discontinue its Six Flags theme park project and approved a plan for business continuity. The Saudi index rose 0.4 percent, with Riyad Bank climbing 4.5 percent to its highest level since May 2006. On Monday, the lender posted a 22 percent rise in first-quarter profit driven by higher special commission income and fees. Alawwal Bank gained 2 percent. The lender called for a shareholder meeting on May 15 to approve a merger offer from Saudi British Bank. Saudi British Bank was up 1.3 percent. Qatar's blue-chip index edged down 0.1 percent as market heavyweight Industries Qatar closed 0.8 percent lower for the third straight session. On Monday, the company posted first-quarter net profit that almost halved, pressured by weak demand for its products and constraints on pricing. United Development Company lost 1.6 percent after reporting a lower first-quarter net profit. The Abu Dhabi index dipped 0.1 percent, as energy company Dana Gas fell 6.6 percent after the stock went ex-dividend. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange said Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) will start trading on May 1 after its merger with Union National Bank (UNB), while UNB will cease trading post April 30. ADCB was up 0.8 percent and UNB added 1.6 percent. The Egyptian stock market was closed for a public holiday. SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 0.4 pct to 9,276 points ABU DHABI The index was down 0.1 pct to 5,392 points DUBAI The index lost 0.5 pct to 2,787 points QATAR The index fell 0.1 pct to 10,451 points BAHRAIN The index gained 0.3 pct to 1,442 points OMAN The index slipped 0.3 pct to 3,940 points KUWAIT The index dropped 0.5 pct to 6,137 points (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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