DUBAI: Gulf stocks shed value in early trading on Sunday after global stocks and oil prices slid last week amid a further escalation of the U.S.-China trade war.
The Saudi index .TASI was down 1.3% in the first 10 minutes of trading, with banks and petrochemical companies feeling the pressure.
Alinma Bank – among the shares registering the highest trading volume – was down 1.5% and Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation slid 1.2%.
National Commercial Bank, the kingdom’s largest lender, was down 2%.
In the petchem sector, Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co and Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) were down 2.1% and 2.2%, respectively.
Arqaam Capital said in a research note on Sunday it expected some weakness in the Saudi stock market this week as global index compiler MSCI completes the second phase of its upgrade of Saudi Arabia to emerging market status.
"We expect to see circa $6.8 billion of passive inflows into KSA (Saudi Arabia) as part of Phase 2 of EM inclusion, bringing KSA to its full weight," said the Dubai firm.
"However, it appears that the KSA index trade is mostly over, as we have already recently seen significant selling pressure, and expect to see weakness into the trade this week."
Outside of Saudi Arabia, real estate heavyweights posted significant losses in the UAE.
In Dubai, where the index shed 1.2% in early trade, real estate giant Emaar Properties was down 2.2% while in Abu Dhabi, where the index shed 1.1%, blue chip Aldar Properties tumbled 2.7%.
(Reporting by Davide Barbuscia) ((Davide.Barbuscia@thomsonreuters.com; +971522604297; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))