September 15, 2019 / 1:29 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi leads Gulf lower after attacks on oil plants

    * Saudi falls for a fourth day
    * Banks and petrochemicals hit hard in Saudi
    * Most property shares down in Dubai
    * Financials drag Qatar, Abu Dhabi
    * Egypt's 22 of 30 blue chips drop

    By Shakeel Ahmad
    Sept 15 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian stocks dropped on Sunday with banking and
petrochemical shares taking the biggest hit after attacks on two key Saudi oil
plants a day earlier knocked out more than half of Saudi crude output.
    The drone attacks, which were claimed by Yemen's Houthi group, are likely to
push up the oil price by $5-10 per barrel when it opens on Monday. Crude may
shoot up to $100 per barrel if Saudi Arabia fails to return to its full oil
supply capacity after Saturday's attacks on Aramco oil plants.
    Saudi's index closed 1.1% lower to fall for a fourth straight
session, with Al Rajhi Bank down 1.2% and petrochemical maker Saudi
Basic Industries (SABIC) lower 2.6%. 
    SABIC and other petrochemicals firms announced significant reductions in
feedstock supplies.
    Sunday's decline means the market has erased all its gains for the year and
traded at 0.9% loss for 2019. Saudi stocks have been forced on the back foot in
recent weeks by expensive valuations, weak oil prices and concerns about the
economic outlook.
    The attacks also weighed on other major Gulf markets which all drifted into
red territory. 
    Dubai's index was down 0.6%. Real estate shares were the biggest
drag with the emirate's largest listed developer Emaar Properties
closing 1% lower. 
    Beaten down real estate firms have long been playing defensive as Dubai
property prices have slumped 25-35% since mid-2014 with no respite in sight. The
prices are likely to go further down this year and next amid a slowing economy
and an oversupply of housing units.
    Telecoms company Du, which uses Huawei equipment in its 5G network,
lost 1.4%. The United States has raised its concerns with Gulf allies over a
possible security risk in using Huawei's technology for their 5G mobile
infrastructure.
    But in Qatar, it was mainly financials pushing down the index, which
also fell 0.6%. The Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank shed
1.2% while the region's top insurer Qatar Insurance dropped 2.4%.
    Lenders also pulled the Abu Dhabi index down 0.4%. Market heavyweight
First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank slipped
0.7% and 1% respectively. 
    Egypt's blue-chip index was down 0.6% with 22 stocks falling and
seven rising. Real estate investment firm Talaat Mostafa Group Holding
dropped 2.1%. 
    
    
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         fell 1.1% to 7,749 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        lost 0.4% to 5,074 points
 DUBAI         The index          fell 0.6% to 2,870 points
 QATAR         The index        was down 0.6% to 10,395 points
 EGYPT         The index          was down 0.6% to 15,023 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        was down 0.7% at 1,536 points
 OMAN          The index        traded flat at 4,021 points
 KUWAIT        The index        was down 0.3% to 6,235 points
 
    
  

 (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra)
  
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