Mideast Stocks: Petchems hurt Saudi, Dubai weighed down by property stocks

Saudi Arabia's index fell 0.4%, with industry heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corp sliding 0.7%

  
Investors look at stock exchange information at the Dubai Financial Market December 14, 2009.

Investors look at stock exchange information at the Dubai Financial Market December 14, 2009.

REUTERS/STR New

The Saudi stock market dropped on Thursday as weak oil prices pressured its petrochemical firms, while weakness in property stocks such as DAMAC Properties weighed on Dubai stocks.

International Brent crude oil futures were at $60.88 a barrel, down 0.4 percent from their last settlement.

Saudi Arabia's index fell 0.4 percent, with industry heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corp sliding 0.7 percent.

Saudi Industrial Investment lost 4.3 percent after posting a drop in its fourth-quarter net profit. The company reported net profit after tax of 27 million riyals compared with 398 million riyals a year earlier.

The Dubai index fell 0.4 percent as its property stocks continued to decline. DAMAC Properties shed 1.7 percent and Emaar Malls dropped 1.9 percent.

DAMAC saw its annual profit fall in 2018 and earnings will be similar for the next two years, although Dubai property prices may have hit the bottom, its chairman said. The company is yet to disclose its financial results for the fourth quarter.

Dubai property prices have fallen since a mid-2014 peak, hurting earnings of developers and forcing construction and engineering firms to cut jobs and halt expansion plans.

DAMAC has plunged by about two thirds in value in the past 12 months, while Emaar Malls and Emaar Development are both down 33 percent. That performance sets them up for exclusion from the MSCI Emerging Markets Index in May under the compiler's criteria for membership, Mohamad Al Hajj, equities strategist at the research arm of EFG-Hermes Holding said.

The departure of these stocks could lead to combined investment outflows of about $220 million, he added.

Qatar's index edged down 0.1 percent, with Qatar Electricity and Water falling 1.3 percent and Masraf Al Raya dropping 0.5 percent.

The Abu Dhabi index also lost 0.1 percent, with First Abu Dhabi Bank the largest lender in the United Arab Emirates, sliding 0.1 percent.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Saeed Azhar in Dubai; Editing by Mark Potter) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

More From Equities