|06 January, 2020

Mideast Stocks: Most Gulf markets stabilise after steep falls over Iran

Aramco hits new low since IPO

An investor uses his mobile phone at the Dubai Financial Market.

An investor uses his mobile phone at the Dubai Financial Market.

REUTERS/Mosab Omar

Most major markets in the Middle East stabilised on Monday after steep declines in the previous session on U.S.-Iran tensions, with some eking out small gains on the day.

Tehran promised vengeance after a U.S. air strike in Baghdad on Friday killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani. 

U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States would retaliate if Tehran struck back after the killing. 

"Escalation encourages money to leave the region and reduces investment inflows, as an actual war would be devastating for regional economies," said Firas Modad, Middle East and North Africa director at IHS Markit.

"It also raises the price of oil, but not enough to plug the hole in the Saudi budget."

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index had fallen 2.4% on Sunday - the first day of trading after the attack in Baghdad - but edged back up 0.2% on Monday. Samba Financial Group increased 2.6% and Saudi British Bank climbed 2.8%.

Saudi Aramco eased 0.1% to 34.5 riyals ($9.20), hitting its lowest level since last month's market debut.

The Qatari index gained 1.2% on the day with 17 of its 20 stocks rising, including Industries Qatar, which advanced 2.4% and Qatar National Bank , which closed 0.9% higher.

Dubai's main share index ended 0.3% up with the United Arab Emirates' largest sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank rising 0.7% and Emirates NBD Bank was up 0.4%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index lost 0.4%, weighed down by individual stock movements, particularly in the financial and property sectors. First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country's largest lender, eased 0.8%, while Aldar Properties retreated 2.3%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index extended losses for a third day to close 0.5% down, hovering around a three-month low. Egypt Kuwait Holding dropped 1.6%.

Stock exchange data showed that Egyptian investors were net-sellers of the stocks.

($1 = 3.7510 riyals)

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

More From Markets