Mideast Stocks: Most major Gulf stocks slide as virus fears grip markets

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index retreated a further 0.8%, a day after it saw its biggest decline in more than nine months

  

Most major Gulf markets extended losses on Tuesday, with Qatar falling the most as concerns about the coronavirus spreading out of China weighed on investor sentiment.

The coronavirus death toll climbed to seven in Italy on Monday and several Middle East countries were dealing with their first infections, feeding worries it could turn into a pandemic.

The Qatari index extended losses from the previous session to open 1.4% down. Qatar Islamic Bank slid 4.9%, while Mesaieed Petrochemical retreated 4%.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index retreated a further 0.8%, a day after it saw its biggest decline in more than nine months. Oil giant Saudi Aramco eased 0.6%, while Savola Group decreased 2.7%.

National Commercial Bank, the kingdom's largest lender, was down 0.8%.

Dubai's main share index fell 0.4% as blue-chip developer Emaar Properties lost 2.1% and sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank was down 1.1%.

However, the fall was cushioned by gains at Emirates NBD Bank, which traded 1.2% up. On Sunday, the lender proposed annual dividend of 0.40 dirham per share.

In Abu Dhabi, the index bucked the trend to gain 0.8%, supported by a 2.1% rise in top lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 0.8% gain in International Holding.

Kuwait's civil aviation authority announced on Monday it had suspended all its flights to and from South Korea, Thailand, and Italy after reports of an outbreak of coronavirus in the countries, Reuters reported citing state news agency KUNA.

The total number of people infected in Kuwait has reached eight.

Kuwait bourse was closed for a public holiday.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, editing by Louise Heavens) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

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