|16 February, 2020

Mideast Stocks: Qatar leads most of Gulf lower, blue chips hurt Egypt

Dar Al Arkan jumps on sukuk prospectus

Image used for illustrative purpose only. Traders work at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo, May 28, 2015.

Image used for illustrative purpose only. Traders work at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo, May 28, 2015.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Most major Gulf bourses closed lower on Sunday with Qatar leading the losses, dragged down by heavyweight Industries Qatar, while Egypt retreated on a sell-off of blue chips.

The Qatari index dropped 1%, extending losses for a sixth straight session, as most stocks on the index declined.

Industries Qatar slid 2.7%. On Wednesday, the heavyweight saw its biggest fall in six months as 2019 profits almost halved from a year earlier.

Qatar's foreign minister also said on Saturday that efforts to resolve its long-running dispute with other Gulf states had been suspended since the start of January. 

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a political, trade and transport boycott on Qatar in June 2017 over charges it supports terrorism, which Doha denies.

Egypt's blue-chip index fell 0.9%, with Telecom Egypt falling 6.2%, while tobacco monopoly Eastern Company dropped 1.3%.

Exchange data on Sunday showed foreigners were net sellers of Egyptian stocks.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index slipped 0.5%, pressured by Saudi British Bank, which tumbled 4.7% ahead of its earnings announcement.

Amongst others, Saudi Aramco was down 0.9%. The oil giant said on Friday it would report fiscal year results on March 16.

However, Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development leapt 4.1%, after the realtor announced that it intends to issue senior unsecured sukuk.

In Abu Dhabi, the index added 0.5% supported by a 1% gain in First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and 0.3% increase in telecoms firm Etisalat.

The United Arab Emirates' largest lender FAB on Sunday said that it had issued bonds worth more than 3 billion dirhams ($816.77 million) through two separate issuance in three days.

Dubai's main share index traded flat as Emirates NBD Bank slipped 0.4%, while construction firm Arabtec Holding sank 1.6% after it swung to a net loss in 2019 from a profit a year earlier.

However, the fall was cushioned by gains at other blue-chip stocks including Air Arabia, which was up 1.3%. Last week, the airliner posted annual profit of 990.2 million dirhams compared with a loss of 609.5 million dirhams a year ago.

($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirham)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Alison Williams) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

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