Mideast Stocks: Saudi gains as major Gulf markets ease

Most major stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Thursday

  
A Saudi man looks at the computer showing stock prices at ANB Bank in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia September 16, 2019.

A Saudi man looks at the computer showing stock prices at ANB Bank in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia September 16, 2019.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

Most major stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Thursday, pressured by losses in financial shares, although the Saudi index bucked the trend to close higher.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index added 0.2%, with Al Rajhi Bank rising 0.9% and Sahara International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) jumping 5.6% after proposing a first-half dividend of 0.75 riyal per share.

SIPCHEM said in a separate filing it planned to mothball Gulf Advanced Cable Insulation Company, a move that would positively impact its future results.

The value of the kingdom's oil exports in April climbed 109% to 51.7 billion riyals ($13.79 billion) from a year earlier while non-oil exports rose by 46.3%, official data showed on Thursday. 

Dubai's main share index fell 0.4%, hit by a 0.4% fall in its top lender Emirates NBD and a 0.4% decrease in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.

In Abu Dhabi, the index declined 1%, dragged down by a 2.1% fall in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 0.8% drop in aquaculture firm International Holding.

COVID-19 cases have risen in the UAE in the past month, prompting Abu Dhabi to maintain restrictions on entry such as home quarantine and testing at intervals after arrival. 

Separately, the Bitcoin Fund debuted on the Nasdaq Dubai on Wednesday, becoming the Middle East's first listed cryptocurrency fund.

The Qatari benchmark lost 0.1%, with Commercial Bank losing over 1%.

The Gulf Arab state has no need to change its currency peg regime despite concerns about rising inflation, the governor of Qatar's central bank said on Wednesday. 

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index added 0.1%, helped by a 0.1% rise in Fawry for Banking Technology and Electronic.

The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday it had completed the second and final review of Egypt's economic reform program supported by a 12-month Stand-By Arrangement, allowing the authorities to draw about $1.7 billion.

($1 = 3.7501 riyals)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))


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