October 9, 2019 / 1:24 PM / 8 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Financials drag most of Gulf lower, Saudi underperforms

    * Saudi falls in six of seven sessions this month
    * SABIC extends losses after Fitch downgrade
    * Lender CIB weighs on Egypt
    * Banks slip in Abu Dhabi, Qatar
    * But financials boost Dubai

    By Maqsood Alam  and Shamsuddin Mohd
    Oct 9 (Reuters) - Most major Gulf markets traded in the red on Wednesday
with weakness in banking shares weighing and Saudi Arabian stocks
underperforming their regional peers. 
    Saudi Arabia’s index fell 1.5%. Al Rjahi Bank declined
2.5% and the Country’s biggest lender National Commercial Bank slid
    Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) shed 1.8%, extending losses
following its downgrade by Fitch on Monday.
    Fitch downgraded SABIC and Saudi Aramco to A from A+ after attacks last
month on two oil production facilities. It also considered rising geopolitical
tensions in the region and the country's continued fiscal deficit.

    The rating agency downgraded Saudi Arabia's credit rating to A from A+ on
Sept. 30.
    The index has fallen in six of seven sessions this month, leaving it down
1.4% year to date. It had gained more than 20% in the first four months of 2019
in the run up to joining the MSCI and FTSE emerging-market indexes, which helped
attract billions of dollars from passive funds.
    However, escalating trade tensions, volatile oil prices and growing
geopolitical risks have hit the market since then and kept active
emerging-market funds from investing in the kingdom.
    An analysis by Copley Fund Research showed that high valuations and
reputation risks have deterred investors.
    In Egypt, the blue-chip index slipped 1.2% with most of its stocks
falling and market heavyweight Commercial International Bank
decreasing 1.1%.
    Stock exchange data showed local investors were net sellers of Egyptian
    In Abu Dhabi, the index slipped 0.3%, led by a 0.5% drop in First Abu
Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.
    Financials also hit the Qatar index, which closed 0.7% lower with
Qatar Islamic Bank down 1% and Qatar National Bank (QNB)
falling 0.7%. After the market closed, QNB reported a 4% rise in nine-month net
profit, broadly in line with analyst estimates.
    However, banks led gainers on the Dubai index, which rose 0.5.
Emirates NBD increased 0.8% and Dubai Islamic Bank was up
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         fell 1.5% to 7,716 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        slipped 0.3% to 5,053 points
 DUBAI         The index          was up 0.5% to 2,810 points
 QATAR         The index        was down 0.7% to 10,198 points
 EGYPT         The index          fell 1.2% to 14,183 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        was flat at 1,518 points
 OMAN          The index        was up 0.1% at 4,040 points
 KUWAIT        The index        was down 0.7% to 6,194 points
 (Reporting by Maqsood Alam and Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten
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