|19 September, 2019

Mideast Stocks: Saudi stocks gain ahead of joining FTSE Russel and S&P Dow Jones indexes

Most of financial shares slide in Abu Dhabi

Traders monitor stocks at the Saudi Investment Bank in Riyadh. Image for illustrative purposes only.

Traders monitor stocks at the Saudi Investment Bank in Riyadh. Image for illustrative purposes only.

REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed

Saudi Arabia's stock market rose sharply on Thursday ahead of their inclusion in FTSE Russell and S&P Dow Jones emerging market indexes next week, which are expected to attract billions of dollars in passive funds.

Saudi stocks will see fourth tranche inclusion in FTSE Russell and the second and final tranche entry into S&P Dow Jones as an emerging market starting on September 23.

Saudi stocks initially joined the two indexes earlier this year.

The market was also supported by news that Saudi oil supply was uninterrupted despite weekend attacks on the kingdom's oil facilities and by a cut in Saudi interest rates.

Saudi Arabia said it continues to supply oil to its customers from its stockpiles and the attacks would have "zero impact" on government revenues. 

The Saudi index ended 1.4% higher with Al Rajhi Bank 1120.SE gaining 2% and Bank Albilad 1140.SE surging 8%, its biggest intraday gain since August 2015.

The central banks of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which peg their currencies to the U.S. dollar, cut interest rates on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve lowered U.S. rates, which Saudi officials said should help the country's banks by boost lending. 

Petrochemical stocks also rose, extending their gains from Wednesday after saying their feedstock supplies from Aramco had significantly improved.

Saudi Basic Industries 2010.SE climbed 2%, while Saudi Arabia Fertilizers 2020.SE leapt 5.5%.

However, the tensions in Middle East weighed on other regional markets after Saudi Arabia presented what it called "undeniable" evidence of Iranian links to the Aramco attacks.

In Abu Dhabi, the index eased 0.6%, with the country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank losing 0.8% and Abu Dhabi Commercial bank shedding 2.5%.

Qatar's index was down 0.3%, led by a 6.5% plunge in Ooredoo and a 2.2% drop in Masraf Al Rayan.

In Dubai, the index slipped 0.1%, extending losses for a third-day consecutively. Dubai Islamic Bank, the United Arab Emirates' largest sharia-compliant lender, lost 1.9% and Emirates NBD ended 1.1% lower.

Egypt's blue-chip index traded flat as gains in the real estate sector were marred by financial shares.

Talaat Mostafa hiked 3.9%, while Commercial International Bank dropped 0.9%.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff and Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru, Editing by William Maclean) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

More From Markets