Mideast Stocks: Most Gulf markets fall in early trade

Dubai's main share index dropped 0.7%

  

Major stock markets in the Gulf traded lower on Sunday following Friday’s fall in global equities amid a growing battle on Wall Street between hedge funds and retail investors.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell 0.4%, with National Commercial Bank and Saudi Telecom Company both losing 0.9%.

The kingdom has postponed the end of a ban on travel for its citizens and the reopening of its ports from March 31 to May 17, the Saudi state news agency SPA said on Friday, citing an interior ministry official. 

The health minister has said that deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines are being delayed.

Dubai's main share index dropped 0.7%, weighed down by a 1.1% fall in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and a 2.4% slide in Dubai Investments.

Dubai will roll out China's Sinopharm vaccine to the general public from Sunday as coronavirus infections surged to record levels in the Middle East tourism hub, the government said on Saturday.

Last week, Dubai suspended non-essential surgeries in hospitals for a month and live music at restaurants indefinitely after daily infections of the coronavirus in the United Arab Emirates rose to their highest levels in January.

On Saturday, authorities reported 3,647 new cases and 12 deaths bringing the total number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 to 300,661 and 674 respectively.

In Abu Dhabi, the index eased 0.3%, with the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank losing 0.5%.

Elsewhere, telecom giant Etisalat was down 0.4%.

The Qatari index lost 0.5%, as most of the stocks on the index were in negative territory including Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's largest lender, which fell 0.8%.

Back in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), the Gulf's largest petrochemical maker, slipped 0.1%, despite posting a net profit of 2.22 billion riyals ($591.87 million) in the fourth quarter. 

SABIC had reported a net loss of 890 million riyals in the same quarter in 2019.

($1 = 3.7508 riyals)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))


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