|21 August, 2019

Mideast Stocks: Financials drag most major Gulf markets lower ahead of Fed events

The Fed events are crucial for Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar as their currencies of are pegged to the U.S. dollar

Most major Gulf stocks markets fell on Wednesday, as financial stocks dropped amid regional geopolitical tensions and ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve events.

Tensions in the Middle East remained in focus after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday the United States would take every action it can to prevent an Iranian tanker in the Mediterranean from delivering oil to Syria in contravention of U.S. sanctions.

Elsewhere the focus shifted to the minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's most recent meeting, due on Wednesday. Traders are also awaiting the Fed's Jackson Hole seminar and a Group of Seven summit this weekend for clues on what additional steps policymakers will boost economic growth.

The Fed events are crucial for Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar as their currencies of are pegged to the U.S. dollar.

In Saudi Arabia the index dropped 0.5%, dragged lower by financial shares. Al Rajhi Bank slipped 1% and Riyad Bank shed 1.5%.

Tabuk Agricultural Development lost 5.3% after it fell to a second-quarter loss, while Saudi Fisheries fell 1.5% as its losses widened in the same period.

In Abu Dhabi the index fell 0.3%, with the United Arab Emirates' largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank sliding 0.4% and Aldar Properties down 1.3%.

Qatar's index dropped 0.1%, snapping a three-session winning streak. The Gulf's largest lender Qatar National Bank eased 0.3% and Masraf Al Rayan fell 0.6%.

Dubai's index inched up 0.4%, led by a 1.3% rise in Emirates NBD and a 0.6% gain in Emaar Properties.

The latter's Egyptian unit rejected as baseless a claim to part of the land where it is building the sprawling Marassi residential and leisure development on Egypt's North Coast, saying it would address the lawsuit using legal channels.

(Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru Editing by David Holmes) ((Maqsood.Alam@thomsonreuters.com;))

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