|23 February, 2020

Mideast Stocks: Banks weigh on Saudi, Dubai as most major Gulf markets fall

All Saudi banks decline

An investor uses his mobile phone at the Dubai Financial Market.

An investor uses his mobile phone at the Dubai Financial Market.

REUTERS/Mosab Omar

Most major Gulf stock markets fell on Sunday, with Saudi Arabia hurt by losses in banking shares that outweighed gains in Saudi Aramco and Emirates NBD dragging the Dubai index lower.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index closed down 0.3% as Saudi Telecom dropped 2% and the country's largest lender National Commercial Bank fell 1.3%.

But the index was supported by Saudi Aramco, which rose 1.2% in its straight fifth session of gains.

The oil group received regulatory approval to develop Saudi Arabia's Jafurah non-associated gas field, which would produce some 550,000 barrels per day of gas liquids and condensates. 

Separately, Reuters reported on Friday through sources that Aramco is set to gain unconditional EU antitrust approval for its $69 billion buy of a 70% stake in Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC). SABIC was up 0.6%.

The Dubai index was down 0.7%, with its biggest lender Emirates declining 2.3%. Air Arabia lost 3.2%.

The board of Emirates NBD approved a 0.40 per share dividend for 2019, similar to a year earlier, though its net profit last year surged 44% to 14.5 billion dirhams ($3.95 billion).

The Qatari index closed down 0.4% after three days of gains.

Qatar International Islamic Bank fell 2.2%, while Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding shed 2.1% after its full-year net profit declined more than a 14% to 1.2 billion riyals ($329.6 million). 

Ooredoo lost 1.3%. The telecom firm said it had begun an investigation into allegations surrounding an expulsion order issued by Algerian authorities against Ooredoo Algeria’s chief executive.

In Abu Dhabi, the index edged up 0.2% as market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank added 1%.

In Egypt, the blue-chip index ticked down 0.2% on the first day of trading after the central bank on Thursday kept key interest rates unchanged, holding its deposit rate at 13.25% and its lending rate at 12.25%.

Tobacco firm Eastern Company lost 1.3% and Elswedy Electric was down 1.9%.

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) ($1 = 3.6405 Qatar riyals)

(Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey) ((Maqsood.Alam@thomsonreuters.com;))

More From Markets