|03 February, 2020

Mideast Stocks: Most major Gulf stocks extend losses; Aramco touches low

Oman Insurance sees biggest gain in six months

A broker monitors stock prices on a screen at the Saudi Investment Bank in Riyadh September 5, 2013.

A broker monitors stock prices on a screen at the Saudi Investment Bank in Riyadh September 5, 2013.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Most major Gulf stocks extended their declines on Monday in line with their global peers, amid fears the coronavirus epidemic would hit Chinese demand. Dubai bucked the trend, helped by its financial services.

Qatar's index dropped 1.1%; all the stocks in its index fell except one. Mesaieed Petrochemical plunged 5.2% and Commercial Bank lost 2.3%.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index retreated 0.6% with Samba Financial Group shedding 2.7%, a day after it reported a decline in its annual profit before tax and zakat.

Saudi British Bank dropped 3%. Saudi Aramco reversed course to close flat after reaching its lowest since it began trading on Dec. 11.

The stock fell in the previous sessions after Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement said that it had launched rockets and drone strikes at Saudi targets, including Aramco oil facilities.

The Abu Dhabi index reversed course to close down 0.8%. First Abu Dhabi Bank declined 1.7% and International Holding IHC.AD slid 3.1%, ending 11 days of gains. Last week, it posted higher annual profit and said it would open talks to acquire Al Seer Marine Supplies & Equipment.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index slipped 0.1%. Telecom Egypt lost 7.6%, ending four straight days of gains.

The rally was triggered by Vodafone Group's deal to sell its 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt. Last week, Telecom Egypt said it had no intention of selling its 45% stake in Vodafone Egypt.

In Dubai, the index edged up 0.2% with its largest listed developer, Emaar Properties , rising 1.3%, Oman Insurance surged 11.3%, its biggest intraday gain since August.

On Monday, the insurer signed a sale and purchase agreement to acquire an additional 49% stake in its subsidiary Dubai Starr igorta.

($1 = 3.6729 UAE dirham)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

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