Mideast Stocks: Most major Gulf markets fall; Qatar rises

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index dropped 0.7%


Most major stock markets in the Gulf fell on Tuesday, with the Dubai index hit by losses in top lender Emirates NBD, while Qatar bucked the trend.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index dropped 0.7%, with oil behemoth Saudi Aramco declining 1% and Al Rajhi Bank losing 0.3%.

Saudi Aramco and petrochemical firm Saudi Basic Industries have decided to re-evaluate their $20 billion crude-oil-to-chemicals project and are now looking at integrating existing facilities instead.

The decision comes as oil companies globally re-assess energy projects to conserve cash, with a collapse in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic threatening to keep crude prices weak for a long time.

Dubai's main share index fell 0.6%, weighed down by a 1.5% fall in its biggest bank Emirates NBD following a sharp decline in quarterly profit, as bad debt charges rose due to the COVID-19 crisis.

In the third quarter net profit fell to 1.56 billion dirhams ($424.7 million) from 5 billion dirhams last year when the bottom line was boosted by a stake sale in payments processor Network International.

The Abu Dhabi index eased 0.1%, hurt by a 0.9% drop in Aldar Properties and a 0.5% decrease in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

In Qatar, the index rose 0.4%, with the Gulf's largest lender Qatar National Bank advancing 2%, while Qatar Gas Transport Company was up 1.1%.

The gas transporter on Monday reported net profit of 900 million riyals ($247.25 million), a 23.6% jump compared to year ago profit.

($1 = 3.6400 Qatar riyals)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; editing by David Evans) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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