|26 December, 2019

Mideast Stocks: Most of Gulf falls but petrochemicals boost Saudi

Financials strong in Egypt

A Saudi trader monitors stocks at the Saudi Bank in Riyadh November 22, 2008. Image used for illustrative purpose.

A Saudi trader monitors stocks at the Saudi Bank in Riyadh November 22, 2008. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed

Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar fell on Thursday with banking shares leading the way, but petrochemicals helped Saudi Arabia buck the trend.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index reversed earlier losses to close up 0.1%, with Saudi Basic Industries 2010.SE gaining 1.3% and state-owned Aramco 0.4% higher at 35.4 riyals ($9.44).

On Tuesday, Aramco said IPO bookrunner Goldman Sachs may make additional purchases of the oil giant's shares to support the price of the stock. The so-called stabilisation period will end on Jan. 9, but so far no transactions have been executed. 

Yanbu National Petrochemicals (Yansab) fell 1.8% after its board proposed a lower second-half dividend this year.

In Abu Dhabi, the index slipped 1% with the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank down 1.2% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank off 0.9%.

Telecoms firm Etisalat decreased 1.2%.

Dubai's index fell 0.3% with the country's largest sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank and Dubai Investments shedding 0.9% and 1.5%, respectively.

The UAE's central bank on Wednesday said it expected gross domestic product to increase by 2% in the fourth quarter from the same period last year, state news agency WAM reported.

The Qatari index edged down 0.2% with Qatar Islamic Bank ending 0.7% lower and Qatar National Bank 0.5% lower.

However, the index found some support from Commercial Bank, which leapt 4.2%.

Egypt's blue-chip index traded 1% higher with gainers outnumbering losers. Commercial International bank rose 1.8% and Cairo for Investment and Real Estate Development jumped 4.3%.

Egypt's current account deficit narrowed to $1.382 billion in July to September 2019 from $2.012 billion in the same period a year earlier, central bank data showed on Wednesday.

Net foreign direct investment inflows during the period, which is the first quarter of Egypt's 2019/2020 financial year, rose to $2.353 billion from $1.415 billion a year earlier.

($1 = 3.7518 riyals)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, Kirsten Donovan) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

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