Mideast Stocks: Major Gulf indexes off to mixed start

The benchmark index in Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude oil producer, was flat as financials and energy stocks moved sideways

  

Major Gulf markets were mixed on Thursday with the Saudi Arabian index trading flat after OPEC and allies such as Russia agreed to taper record oil supply curbs from next month.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, agreed on Wednesday to scale back production cuts from August as the global economy slowly recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

The benchmark index in Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude oil producer, was flat as financials and energy stocks moved sideways. Al Rajhi Bank edged up 0.4%, while oil giant Saudi Aramco lost 0.3%.

Elsewhere, Jarir Marketing advanced 1.8% after it reported an increase in second-quarter net profit.

Dubai's main share index added 0.3%, with Emaar Properties rising 1.9% and Emirates NBD Bank up 1.1%.

A downgrade last week of Dubai's flagship real estate company Emaar Properties will likely push up the emirate's borrowing costs if it decides to refinance $750 million in bonds due in October, Reuters reported citing bankers and analysts.

The credit ratings of government-related entities are often seen by investors as a proxy for Dubai, which is not rated by any of the major ratings agencies.

S&P Global Ratings downgraded Emaar to a BB+ "junk" rating from an investment grade BBB- score, saying it expected a 30%-40% slump in the firm's earnings this year.

The Abu Dhabi index gained 0.7%, led by a 1.9% rise in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 0.4% increase in telecoms firm Etisalat.

In Qatar, the index slipped 0.1%, hurt by a 0.9% fall in Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's largest lender, and a 1.1% drop in petrochemical firm Industries Qatar.

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

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