Mideast Stocks: Banks push Saudi lower, DP World gains on earnings

In Saudi Arabia, the index fell 0.5% as Al Rajhi Bank dropped 0.6% and Samba Financial Group lost 1.3%


Saudi Arabian stock market fell in early trade on Thursday pulled lower by its banking shares while other Gulf stocks traded higher.

In Saudi Arabia, the index  fell 0.5% as Al Rajhi Bank dropped 0.6% and Samba Financial Group lost 1.3%.

Banking stocks have come under pressure in recent weeks from the Saudi central bank's decision to follow the U.S. Federal Reserve in cutting interest rates, which analysts expect to squeeze lenders' profit margins.

Insurer Salama Cooperative Insurance slumped 5.2% after it swung to second-quarter pre-zakat loss.

But Saudi Arabian Amiantit  jumped 4% after Capital Market Authority approved to reduce share capital of the firm.

In Abu Dhabi, the index rose 0.5% as Emirates Telecommunications Group increased 1.6% and Abu Dhabi National Energy (Taqa) increased 3.3%.

The latter said on Wednesday its Iraq-based unit had set a production record from the Atrush oilfield in the northern Kurdistan region. The total monthly production volume exceeded 1 million barrels of oil in July.

Nasdaq Dubai listed port operator DP World climbed 1.4% after reporting higher first-half profit.

Qatar's index rose 0.3% after it fell on Wednesday when it snapped a three-session winning streak. Telecom operator Ooredoo jumped 5% and the Gulf's largest lender Qatar National Bank gained 0.4%.

Dubai's index traded flat 0.5% with Dubai Islamic Bank gaining 0.8% while Emaar Properties slipped 0.4%.

A lawsuit has been filed against Emaar's Egyptian unit claiming part of the land where it is building the sprawling Marassi residential and leisure development on Egypt's North Coast.

(Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Angus MacSwan) ((Maqsood.Alam@thomsonreuters.com;))

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