Mideast Stocks: Most major Gulf markets ease on oil slump, poor earnings

Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index eased 0.4%


Most major stock markets in the Gulf declined on Wednesday on weak oil prices and poor quarterly earnings, while trading volumes were thin ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Oil prices slumped again as the market struggled with a massive supply glut amid a collapse in demand for everything from gasoline to jet fuel caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Brent crude, which fell 24% in the previous session, touched $15.98 a barrel, its lowest since June 1999. It was down $1.70, or 8.7%, to $17.64 by 0755 GMT.

Oil prices have slumped by about 80% this year as the pandemic has spread across the world, killing nearly 180,000 people, routing financial markets and leading to potentially the worst economic meltdown since the depression of the 1930s.

Lower oil prices and disruptions to crude exports could impact fiscal balances in countries reliant on oil income.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index eased 0.4%, led by a 2.5% fall in petrochemical firm Saudi Basic Industries and a 0.7% drop in National Commercial Bank.

However, Saudi Telecom edged up 0.1% after reporting a 5.9% rise in first-quarter profit.

In Dubai, the benchmark stock index slipped 0.4%, with Emirates Integrated Telecommunications falling 2.9% after the firm posted a lower quarterly net profit.

The Abu Dhabi index slipped 0.2%, hurt by a 2.3% decline in First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country's largest lender.

But the index's losses were capped by a 2.7% gain in Emirates Telecommunications despite reporting a fall in first-quarter profit.

Qatar's index gained 0.8%, buoyed by a 2.2% rise in Qatar National Bank, while Mesaieed Petrochemical climbed 4.1%.

($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirham) ($1 = 3.7650 riyals)

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

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