Mideast Stocks: Major Gulf bourses ease in early trade as financial shares drag

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell 0.4%


Major stock markets in the Gulf were subdued in early trade on Tuesday, mostly hurt by losses in financial shares in the absence of fresh factors to trade on.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell 0.4%, with Al Rajhi Bank losing 0.9%, while Saudi Arabian Mining Company retreated 1.2%.

The kingdom's inflation rate rose for the second consecutive month, climbing to 5.7% in May from 5.3% in April, again reflecting a tripling of value-added tax to 15% last year, official data showed on Tuesday. 

Saudi Arabia's economy, the largest in the Arab world, shrank 3% in the first quarter this year from a year earlier, hit by oil output cuts. 

Dubai's main share index lost 0.3%, with Emirates NBD Bank falling 0.4% and logistic firm Aramex shedding 1.5%.

Dubai's stock market is set for another delisting, raising a question mark over the future of one of the Gulf's major exchanges, which was launched two decades ago. 

A $595 million bid to take DAMAC Properties private by the firm's founder Hussain Sajwani is the latest blow to the exchange, even as the Gulf city state's property market showed signs of life in the first quarter. 

However, DAMAC traded flat.

The Abu Dhabi index eased 0.2%, hurt by a 0.1% drop in First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country's largest lender, and a 0.2% decline in telecoms firm Etisalat.

In Qatar, the index was down 0.2%, driven down by a 0.8% fall in Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's biggest bank.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Giles Elgood) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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