|27 May, 2019

Mideast Stocks: Qatar, Saudi rise on financials; property drags Dubai

All property shares slide in Dubai

Image used for illustrative purpose. Investors watch monitors at the Dubai International Financial Market, May 20, 2010.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Investors watch monitors at the Dubai International Financial Market, May 20, 2010.

REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Qatar and Saudi Arabia's stock markets rose on Monday, helped by financial companies, while Dubai's was pressured by the real estate sector.

Qatar's index rose 0.9% as banks gained. Qatar Islamic Bank surged 8.7% and the Middle East's biggest lender, Qatar National Bank, added 2.2%.

Qatar's stock exchange is developing two new Exchange Traded Funds, part of efforts by the Middle East's strongest performing stock market in 2018 to boost foreign investment, Reuters reported last week, citing CEO Rashid al-Mansoori. 

Companies on Qatar's exchange in 2018 increased foreign ownership limits to 49%, most of which had previously been set at 25%, drawing a flood of cash that helped to boost the main index by more than 20% last year.

"Now the minimum will be 49% for all Qatari companies ... this will attract more liquidity and more room for foreign investors to invest," said Mansoori.

Saudi's stock index was up 0.3%, with market heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries 2010.SE gaining 1.1% and Saudi British Bank closing 3.4% higher.

The country's biggest food products company, Savola Group , jumped 5.9%, rebounding from a 6.2% drop in the last session.

Saudi Steel Pipes 1320.SE surged 10% to its biggest percentage gain since January after cutting its accumulated losses to zero as of December 2018.

MSCI said earlier this month that it would include MSCI Saudi Arabia in its emerging markets index, effective May 28, a move that could draw billions of dollars into the market.

MSCI said 30 Saudi Arabian securities would be added, representing an aggregate weight of 1.42% in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

Dubai's index fell 0.3% with all its property stocks sliding. Emaar Propertiesshed 0.5% and its unit Emaar Malls was down 1.1%.

Emaar Properties has hired advisors including Standard Chartered STAN.L for the sale of its district cooling business, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters, as part of a broader plan to offload non-core activities.

Property prices have been falling since a mid-2014 peak, hurt by weaker oil prices and muted sales, which in part were behind the index's poor performance the last year.

Egypt's blue-chip index slid 0.2%, with Juhayna Food slumping 8.6% and Eastern Company down 2.4%.

The Abu Dhabi index edged up 0.1%, lifted by a 2.7% gain in energy firm Dana Gas.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Catherine Evans) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

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