|30 September, 2019

Mideast Stocks: Banks dent Egyptian index as financials lift Saudi

Egypt snaps a three-day wining streak

Traders work at the Egyptian Exchange in Cairo April 1, 2013.

Traders work at the Egyptian Exchange in Cairo April 1, 2013.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Egypt's blue-chip index ended its three-day winning streak as declines in banking shares sent it into negative territory on Monday, while financial stocks bolstered the Saudi index.

The Egyptian index lost 0.4%, with the country's largest lender Commercial International Bank (COMI) falling 1% and Eastern Company dropping 2.6%.

Cairo Investment and Real Estate Development outperformed the market, jumping 6.3% after its board approved a 25 million euro ($27.27 million) loan agreement to finance the first phase of construction of a university in Asyut.

The index is up more than 9% this year.

The Saudi Arabian index, meanwhile, firmed by 0.5%, extending gains from the previous session, helped by gains for Al Rajhi Bank  and Walaa Cooperative Insurance , up 0.6% and 4.3% respectively.

On Sunday Walaa Cooperative said it had a binding agreement to acquire Metlife AIG ANB in an all-share deal. 

Metlife closed 2.8% lower, while one of its major shareholders, Arab National Bank , advanced 3.2%.

Moody's said Saudi Arabia insurers' weaker profitability and capitalisation pressures would spur more consolidation in the sector. 

The Abu Dhabi's index dipped by 0.3% as First Abu Dhabi Bank lost 1.1% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank dropped 1%.

In Dubai, the index traded flat, with Air Arabia rising 3.3% while Damac Properties was down 4.1%.

Fitch Ratings last week said that a weakening property market in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where prices have fallen more than 20% since their 2014 peak, is likely to put more pressure on the banking sector's asset quality. 

The ratings agency also predicted that "a significant proportion of the $23 billion loans to Dubai government-related entities due to mature by end-2021 may be restructured again".

In Qatar, the index ended 0.3% down, extending losses for a third straight day, with Qatar Islamic Bank down 2.1% and Commercial Bank shedding 3.4%.

($1 = 0.9168 euros)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff and Shamsudding Mohd in Bengaluru Editing by David Goodman) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

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