Mideast Stocks: Gulf tracks global declines on economic fears over China virus

Aramco hits its lowest since IPO

A Saudi trader works at the Saudi Investment Bank in Riyadh. Image used for illustrative purpose.

A Saudi trader works at the Saudi Investment Bank in Riyadh. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed

Most Middle Eastern bourses were pressured on Sunday, mirroring Friday's slide in global shares and oil prices due to growing concern about the economic impact of a new coronavirus outbreak, while Saudi Arabia was hit by slew of poor corporate earnings.

China ramped up measures to contain the epidemic and shore up an economy hit by travel curbs and business shut-downs on Sunday as the first death from the illness was reported outside the country. 

Some 304 people have died in China, the country's National Health Commission said on Sunday, with the number of infections jumping to 14,380 as of Saturday.

Saudi Arabia's index declined 1.3%, dragged lower by banking share losses. Al Rajhi Bank fell 1.1%, while Alinma Bank retreated 3.7% following an 11.3% decline in its annual net profit.

Saudi Arabian Mining decreased 3.3%. On Thursday, the miner posted an annual net loss of 739.5 million riyals ($197.14 million) from year-ago profit of 1.85 billion riyals.

State-owned Saudi Aramco dipped 0.6% to 33.95 riyals ($9.05), hitting its lowest point since it began trading on Dec. 11.

The Dubai index ended 0.9% down led by a 1.5% fall in Emirates NBD Bank and a 0.9% drop in Dubai Islamic Bank.

In Abu Dhabi, the index lost 0.8%. First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country's largest lender, eased 1%, while telecoms firm Etisalat was down 0.7%.

The Qatari index was also down 0.8% with Qatar Fuel and Qatar Islamic Bank shedding 4.2% and 1.4%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index slipped 0.2%, with El Sewedy Electric and Juhayna Food losing 2.8% and 4.6%, respectively.

The index saw some support from Telecom Egypt, which soared 10%, reaching its highest since August.

The stock was up for a third session, helped by Vodafone Group's deal to sell its 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt. Last week, the firm said it had no intention of selling its 45% stake in Vodafone Egypt.

($1 = 3.7511 riyals)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Helen Popper) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

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