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|14 November, 2018

Mideast Stocks - Oil plunge hits Saudi, MSCI decisions drag down Qatar

Eleven of 12 banking stocks also dropped as the largest, National Commercial Bank, declined 1.7%

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

Saudi Arabia's stock market fell in early trade on Wednesday as a fresh plunge of oil prices triggered broad selling of blue chips, while Qatar dropped sharply after MSCI snubbed two of its major stocks in a semi-annual index review.

Saudi Arabia's main index was down 0.8 percent after an hour, following oil's roughly 7 percent decline overnight. All 14 petrochemical stocks declined with the biggest, Saudi Basic Industries, losing 0.7 percent.

Eleven of 12 banking stocks also dropped as the largest, National Commercial Bank, declined 1.7 percent. If the oil price slide continues, the government's plans to boost spending next year could be affected as revenues are hurt, squeezing liquidity at banks; Saudi interbank money rates SAIBOR= have been edging up in recent weeks.

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Among the few gaining stocks on Wednesday was consumer appliance company Shaker, up 6.4 percent; it has risen sharply from near record lows in heavy trade over the past two days.

In Qatar, the main index was on course for its biggest loss in three months and slipped 1.7 percent.

Qatar Fuel plunged its 10 percent daily limit and Mesaieed Petrochemical sagged 2.7 percent; in its semi-annual index review late on Tuesday, MSCI decided against market expectations not to include both stocks in its global indexes.

Doha Bank dropped 2.6 percent after MSCI decided to move it to a small cap index from the Qatar standard index, effective at the end of this month.

The Abu Dhabi index was up 1.4 percent, however, as First Abu Dhabi Bank, the largest lender in the United Arab Emirates, climbed 3.4 percent on news that its weight in the MSCI emerging markets standard index would double, according to Arqaam Capital.

Agthia Group rose 5 percent after its nine-month profit jumped 9 percent.

In Dubai, the index fell 0.5 percent. DAMAC Properties dropped by that margin after reporting a 68 percent plunge in profit for the third quarter.

Union Properties was 0.8 percent lower after its third-quarter loss widened.

(Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad and Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Torchia) ((Shashwat.Awasthi@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S.+1 646 223 3403; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 3403; Reuters Messaging: shashwat.awasthi.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))