Mideast Stocks: Qatar slides as banks weigh, Egypt gains ahead of central bank meet

Qatari stocks dropped sharply on Tuesday, dragged down by the financial sector

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. A trader watches an electronic share price display at the Doha Stock Exchange in downtown Doha March 19, 2015.

Image used for illustrative purpose. A trader watches an electronic share price display at the Doha Stock Exchange in downtown Doha March 19, 2015.

REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous

Qatari stocks dropped sharply on Tuesday, dragged down by the financial sector after Fitch indicated a potential downgrade in domestic bank ratings, while Egyptian shares rose on hopes of interest rates remaining unchanged.

Fitch Ratings indicated on Monday it could cut the ratings of all banks in Qatar, saying it was concerned over the sector's increasing reliance on external funding and recent rapid growth in assets. 

The index in Qatar dropped 1.1%, with most of the constituents closing in the red. Industries Qatar declined 2.3%, while Masraf Alrayan shed 1.9%.

Qatar National Bank and Qatar International Islamic Bank, which are among Fitch's potential downgrade list, fell 0.5% and 1.1%, respectively.

The Egyptian index closed 0.7%, led by a 7.6% jump in Fawry For Banking Technology And Electronic Payment.

All but one of 18 analysts polled by Reuters believed the Egyptian central bank would keep rates unchanged at a meeting on Thursday as it strives to attract portfolio investment while tamping down inflation. 

The Egyptian stock market was in positive territory as investors remain optimistic regarding the market's potential, said Wael Makarem, senior market strategist at Exness.

Saudi Arabia's index lost 0.4%, with Al Rajhi Bank falling 0.6% and Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services 4013.SE retreating 2.8%.

Brent crude, a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial stocks, was down 55 cents, or 0.6%, at $85.44 a barrel by 0922 GMT, but remained near multi-year highs, supported by a global supply shortage and strong demand in the United States. O/R

The Abu Dhabi index was down 0.4% as First Abu Dhabi Bank lost 0.7% and Emirates Telecommunications Group eased 0.5%.

The index in Dubai, closed flat as logistics firm Aramex dropped 3.4%, while Emirates NBD Bank added 0.7%.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.) ((ateequr.shariff@thomsonreuters.com;))


More From Equities