Mideast Stocks: Petrochemical firms weigh on Saudi, Most Gulf markets mixed

Abu Dhabi's UNB up after update on potential merger

A screen displaying stock market prices is seen at an investment bank in Riyadh in this file photo taken June 9, 2013.

A screen displaying stock market prices is seen at an investment bank in Riyadh in this file photo taken June 9, 2013.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser/Files

Saudi Arabia's stock market edged lower in quiet trading on Thursday, pressured by petrochemical and bank shares, while Dubai gained on the back of real estate stocks.

The kingdom's main index reversed course to fall 0.4 percent, a day after breaching its 200-day average for the first time in three weeks.

Middle East funds have become more wary, but not outright bearish, toward Saudi Arabia's stock market because of concern over the fallout from the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a monthly Reuters poll showed on Wednesday. 

Foreign investors, including those from other Gulf states, were net sellers of Saudi equities for most of this month, partly because of fear that Khashoggi's death could damage Saudi ties with the West and conceivably lead to economic sanctions.

But the poll of 13 Middle Eastern fund managers, conducted over the past week, suggested most funds do not intend to continue selling.

Saudi Chemical slid 3.9 percent after its third-quarter profit fell and City Cement Co lost 1.4 percent after reporting a loss in its third-quarter.

Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma'aden) was down 2.9 percent, while National Industrialization (Tasnee) dropped 1.4 percent.

The Egyptian blue-chip index fell 0.3 percent as Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals Co dived 9.1 percent despite reporting a rise in its nine-month profit.

Orascom Investment lost 5 percent. The company on Wednesday said it expected to buy 30 percent of Sarwa Capital's shares in November. Sarwa was up 2.1 percent. 

The Dubai index rose 0.7 percent, boosted by its real estate and industrial shares. Emaar Properties was up 3.3 percent after it said it is in talks with a number of parties for the sale of some hotels.

Abu Dhabi National Hotels is in talks to buy some hotel buildings from Emaar, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing two sources familiar with the matter. 

Aramex added 5.1 percent after reporting a 37.8 percent rise in its third-quarter profit, while Dubai Investments lost 0.6 percent after its profit fell for the same period.

The Abu Dhabi index inched 0.4 percent higher, aided by a 0.6 percent gain in First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 14.3 percent jump in Abu Dhabi National Hotels .

Union National Bank rose 2.7 percent after providing an update on its potential merger with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank , which was down 1.1 percent.

Qatar's index dropped 0.2 percent, with Commercial Bank shedding 2.2 percent at 40.5 riyals after brokerage EFG Hermes cut its target price to 36.1 riyals from 37.9.

Qatar National Bank slipped 0.5 percent on profit-taking and Qatar Electricity and Water QEWC.QA was down 2.4 percent.

SAUDI ARABIA * The index was down 0.4 percent at 7,879 points.

DUBAI * The index was up 0.7 percent at 2,805 points.

QATAR * The index dropped 0.2 percent at 10,281 points.

ABU DHABI * The index was up 0.4 percent at 4,921 points.

EGYPT * The index lost 0.4 percent at 13,202 points.

KUWAIT * The index was up 0.6 percent at 5,263 points.

BAHRAIN * The index was down 0.1 at 1,313 points.

OMAN * The index was flat at 4,422 points.

(Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; editing by David Stamp) ((abinaya.vijayaraghavan@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S.+1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 2733; Reuters Messaging: abinaya.vijayaraghavan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

More From Equities