Mideast Stocks: Most Middle Eastern stocks retreat on downbeat IMF forecasts

Zain Saudi Arabia slides as Q2 profit shrinks

  
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 Middle Eastern stock markets ended lower on Tuesday, with Kuwait hardest hit, after the International Monetary Fund cut its economic forecasts for the region due to lower oil prices and the coronavirus crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit sectors such as tourism and trade, while low oil prices and crude production cuts have strained the finances of regional oil exporters and impacted remittances.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index eased 0.4%, weighed down by a 2.6% slide in the kingdom's largest lender National Commercial Bank and a 0.7% drop in Al Rajhi Bank .

Elsewhere, Zain Saudi Arabia 7030.SE retreated 4.7%, after the telecoms firm reported a net profit of 59 million riyals ($15.73 million) in the second-quarter, down from 130 million riyals a year earlier. 

In Kuwait, the index .BKP declined 1.9%, as all its constituents ended in negative territory including National Bank of Kuwait, which lost 1.7%.

The Kuwaiti cabinet cancelled plans to construct the Al-Dabdaba solar plant, which would have provided 15% of the oil sector's electricity needs, due to the virus pandemic. 

Shares in the United Arab Emirates, where key sectors such as tourism and transport have been hit hard by the outbreak, extended losses from the previous session.

Dubai's main share index dropped 0.7%, driven down by a 1.6% fall in Emirates NBD Bank and a 1.5% decrease in developer Emaar Properties .

The Abu Dhabi index fell 0.5%, with First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country's largest lender, shedding 1.3%.

Egypt's blue-chip index dropped 1.2%, with tobacco monopoly Eastern Company tumbling 4.7%.

However, the Qatari index bucked the trend to close 0.2% up, as Qatar Aluminium jumped 9.9%

($1 = 3.7506 riyals)

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

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