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|24 March, 2019

Mideast Stocks: Saudi index retreats from multi-year peak; Gulf rivals also fall

Petrochemicals and banks weigh on Saudi index

A Saudi trader observes the stock market on monitors at Falcom stock exchange agency in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 7, 2018.

A Saudi trader observes the stock market on monitors at Falcom stock exchange agency in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 7, 2018.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

DUBAI- Saudi Arabia's stock market closed lower on Sunday, along with other Gulf markets, having ended the previous week at its highest in nearly four years after inclusion in the FTSE Russell's emerging-market index.

Saudi's Tadawul index will have a weighting of 2.9 percent in the FTSE Emerging All Cap Index and this year will join the MSCI emerging market benchmark.

The Saudi index dropped 0.7 percent on Sunday, dragged down by petrochemical and banking shares.

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Petrochemical companies Saudi Basic Industries 2010.SE and Saudi Kayan closed 1.1 percent and 4.6 percent down respectively. Sipchem lost 0.9 percent after its chief executive Ahmad al-Ohali resigned following his appointment as Governor of the General Authority for Military Industries.

National Commercial Bank retreated by 1.1 percent, Al Rajhi Bank eased by 0.4 percent and Riyad Bank lost 1.1 percent.

In Dubai, the main index dipped by 0.4 percent, extending Thursday's losses, with the Dubai Islamic Bank falling 1 percent and Emirates NBD losing 0.6 percent.

Developers DAMAC Properties and Emaar Properties lost 2.1 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.

SHUAA Capital surged 15 percent after announcing it was in talks with Abu Dhabi Financial Group on a potential merger. It said each party had formed a working group to review the commercial potential of a deal. 

The Abu Dhabi index closed 0.6 percent down, with First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank losing 0.9 percent and 0.7 percent respectively.

Qatar's index was off 0.6 percent as Qatar National Bank gave up 1 percent, Industries Qatar lost 0.8 percen, and Commercial Bank fell by 1.9 percent.

In Egypt, the index firmed by 0.4 percent, helped by a 0.5 percent gain for manufacturer Eastern Co and a 1.5 percent rise for Commercial International Bank. El Sewedy Electric Co also gained 1.5 percent.

Arqaam Capital said in a note that it sees an increasing chance of a 50-100bps interest rate cut in Egypt because of a more dovish stance in the United States, strengthening the Egyptian pound, and continued portfolio inflows.

(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell Editing by David Goodman) ((alexander.cornwell@thomsonreuters.com))

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