Mideast Stocks: Most Gulf markets fall in early trade; Qatar rises

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell 0.3%

  
A Saudi trader monitors stocks at the Saudi stock market in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 8, 2020.

A Saudi trader monitors stocks at the Saudi stock market in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 8, 2020.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

Major stock markets in the Gulf traded lower on Monday, pressured by financial shares amid falling oil prices, although Qatar bucked the sombre mood to open higher.

Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf region's financial markets, edged lower on renewed concerns that European lockdowns may slow an anticipated recovery in demand for fuel products. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell 0.3%, with National Commercial Bank, the kingdom's largest lender, shedding 1.6%, while Samba Financial Group was down 1.5%.

Elsewhere, Saudi Aramco eased 0.1%, a day after the oil behemoth reported a sharp decline in 2020 net profit.

Aramco expects to cut capital expenditure, it said after reporting a 44% slump in full-year net profit, hit by lower crude oil prices and sales as the COVID-19 pandemic depressed demand.

In Dubai, the main share index fell 0.8%, pressured by a 2.2% decline in Dubai's largest lender Emirates NBD Bank and 0.6% decrease in Dubai Islamic Bank.

The Abu Dhabi index eased 0.2%, on course to extend losses for a fourth straight session, with the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank losing 0.4%.

Among others, Dana Gas dropped 1.2%, after investment bank EFG Hermes, on Monday, slashed its target price to AED 0.830 ($0.2260) from AED 0.900. 

In Qatar, the benchmark index edged 0.2% higher, helped by a 1.3% gain in petrochemical maker Industries Qatar.

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

(Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru) ((shamsuddin.mohd@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497252;))


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