Mideast Stocks: Most major Gulf bourses in red; financials aid Saudi

Dubai's main share index declined 1%

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

Most major stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Wednesday, with the Dubai index leading the losses, while financial shares bolstered the Saudi bourse.

Dubai's main share index declined 1%, with sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank and blue-chip developer Emaar Properties both losing 1.4%.

Elsewhere, DAMAC Properties retreated 1.5%.

Last week, United Arab Emirates property tycoon Hussain Sajwani made an offer to buy out minority shareholders in DAMAC Properties, which he has run for nearly two decades. 

The all-cash offer comes amid a years-long slump in Dubai's once hot property market, a decline exacerbated by the economic hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Separately, Emirates got an additional $1.1 billion in state support from Dubai after a collapse in long-haul travel due to the coronavirus pandemic triggered the airline's first annual loss in more than three decades. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index finished 0.2% higher, supported by a 1.3% gain in Riyad Bank and a 1.9% increase in property firm Jabal Omar Development.

Goldman Sachs raised its expectations for Saudi Arabian growth this year and in 2022 amid rising oil prices and an increase in oil output by the kingdom.

The investment bank sees Saudi oil production rising by about 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 10 million bpd by the end of 2021. 

In Abu Dhabi, the index lost 0.7%, hit by a 5.1% slide in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) as an investor is seeking to exit the lender by selling shares worth $300 million, according to BloombergQuint. ADCB could not immediately be reached for comment.

Abu Dhabi, the second-most populous emirate in the UAE, restricted access to shopping malls, restaurants, cafes and other public places from June 15 to those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or recently tested negative. 

The Qatari index eased 0.1%, with Qatar National Bank falling 0.7%.

However, Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan gained 0.4%, after Qatar Financial Markets Authority approved its merger with Khalij Commercial Bank.

The merger will lead to the creation of one of the largest Sharia-compliant banks in Qatar and the Middle East.

Shares of Khalij Commercial Bank, which is not part of the index, advanced 0.9%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index edged down 0.1%, with its top lender Commercial International Bank losing 0.5%.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Potter) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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