Mideast Stocks: Most markets retreat as COVID-19 deaths rise, restrictions widen

Saudi Arabia index finishes flat

  
An investor gestures as he monitors a screen displaying stock information in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 6, 2017.

An investor gestures as he monitors a screen displaying stock information in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 6, 2017.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Most Gulf markets ended lower on Tuesday, in line with Asian shares, as increasing COVID-19 deaths and widening lockdowns overshadowed optimism over progress on vaccine development and rollout.

The number of U.S. coronavirus deaths crossed 300,000 on Monday as the country started its first inoculations, while tighter restrictions were imposed on London and more European countries were set to follow suit. 

Most Asian markets retreated, with MSCI's index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan falling 0.4% to its lowest in more than a week after hitting a string of record highs in recent weeks.

Dubai's main share index lost about 1%, the benchmark's biggest fall since Nov. 3.

Top lender Emirates NBD Bank shed 2.3%, while blue-chip developer Emaar Properties fell 2.8%.

Dubai's non-oil private sector shrank for a second consecutive month in November as the pandemic drove business sentiment to an historic low, a survey showed on Monday. 

The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Dubai Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) declined to 49.0 in November from 49.9 in October.

Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi indexes have gained in 23 of the 30 trading sessions since Nov. 1.

In Abu Dhabi the index declined 0.4%, dragged mainly by a 0.7% drop in First Abu Dhabi Bank.

The Qatari index ended almost flat. Commercial Bank topped the gainers on the benchmark, adding 1.7%, while Qatar National Bank was the top loser, shedding 0.6%.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index closed almost unchanged. Riyad Bank was the top loser, declining 2.2%, while Saudi Industrial Development Co put on 1.3%.

Saudi Arabia's consumer price index increased by 5.8% in November compared with the same month last year, official data showed. 

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index tacked on about 0.1%, helped by gains in Cleopatra Hospital and financial stock EFG Hermes Holdings , which appreciated 3.9% and 2.3% respectively.

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey) ((abyjose.koilparambil@thomsonreuters.com; +91 (0)8061822683;))


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