Mideast Stocks: Oil price fall, renewed global woes weigh on Gulf stocks

Saudi's index was down 0.3% in early trading with Al Rajhi Bank dropping 0.8%


All major Gulf markets dropped on Wednesday, mostly with financial sector shares taking a hit from falling oil prices and renewed weakness in global equity markets.

Oil prices fell nearly 2% on Wednesday, weighed down by weaker demand outlook and a rise in U.S. crude inventories despite growing expectations of ongoing OPEC-led supply cuts.

Saudi's index was down 0.3% in early trading with Al Rajhi Bank dropping 0.8% and lender Samba Financial Group dipping 0.7%.

The Gulf's best performing major market eased back after gaining in the last four sessions.

The index is still up 14% year-to-date, boosted by foreign investors, who have been net buyers of Saudi stocks every month this year.

Late last month, the Saudi equity market joined the MSCI Emerging Market index, which is expected to trigger billions of dollars of foreign fund inflows.

Qatar's index also fell 0.5%, again weighed down by financial stocks. Qatar Islamic Bank traded 1.4% lower while Qatar National Bank  edged down 0.5%.

But in Dubai it was real estate shares pushing the index down 0.4% after four straight sessions of gains.

The emirate's major developer Emaar Properties shed 1.5%, while its only telecommunications operator DU lost 1.2%.

The Abu Dhabi index also edged lower 0.1%, pulled down by banking shares. National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah slipped 2.1% and First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates' biggest lender, eased 0.3%.

Qatar this week placed further restrictions on First Abu Dhabi Bank as it continues a probe into alleged currency manipulation begun after the UAE and other Arab states launched a boycott against Qatar in mid-2017.

(Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne) ((shakeel.ahmad.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net;))

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