January 20, 2019 / 1:18 PM / 3 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks hurt Saudi, most Gulf markets fall

    * Saudi's Almarai slips after Q4 results
    * Dubai's DAMAC continues to slide after BofA downgrade 
    * Emirates NBD continues to gain after Q4 results

    DUBAI Jan 20 (Reuters) - Bank shares led Saudi Arabia's
stock market lower on Sunday as most regional bourses fell.
    In Saudi Arabia, the index lost 0.8 percent with Al
Rajhi Bank and Samba Financial Group falling
1.1 percent and 3.3 percent respectively.    
    The Gulf's largest dairy company Almarai shed 6
percent after reporting a 28 percent drop in fourth quarter
profit. 
    The United Arab Emirates two main indexes, Abu Dhabi
and Dubai, each slipped 0.2 percent.
   Abu Dhabi was dragged down by telecom, banking, and real
estate shares. Telcom Etisalat lost 0.6 percent, while
the UAE's biggest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)
fell 1.4 percent. Aldar Properties lost 0.7 percent,
    Dubai's index, reversing earlier gains, was weighed by
property and aviation shares. Major developer DAMAC Properties
 lost 4.0 percent. Last week, 
    BofA Merrill Lynch downgraded DAMAC to 'underperform' from
'neutral'. BofA said in a research note it was also lowering its
2018 to 2020 earnings per share forecast on DAMAC by an average
of 47 percent, citing expectations of weaker booked sales and
gross margin.
    Air Arabia shed 1.9 percent. It said last week it had filed
a criminal case against former board member and Abraaj founder
Arif Naqvi. The budget carrier has previously said it has an
exposure of $336 million to collapsed private equity firm
Abraaj. 
    Dubai saw some support from blue chip bank Emirates NBD
 which added 0.5 percent. Last week it reported a 10
percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit. Developer Emaar
Properties also rose 0.5 percent. 
    In Qatar, the index lost 0.3 percent with telecom
Vodafone Qatar shedding 1.8 percent and Qatar Gas
Transport fell 1.5 percent. 
    Bahrain's index and Kuwait's index bucked the
regional trend to close up 0.5 percent and 0.3 percent,
respectively, both helped by banking shares. 
    
 SAUDI       The index         lost 0.8 pct to
 ARABIA      8,384 points
 DUBAI       The index          lost 0.2 pct to
             2,513 points
 QATAR       The index        lost 0.3 pct to
             10,760 points
 ABU DHABI   The index        lost 0.2 pct at
             4,975 points
 EGYPT       The index          lost 0.3 percent
             to 13,444 points
 KUWAIT      The index        added 0.3 pct to
             5,494 points
 OMAN        The index        fell 0.1 pct to
             4,203 points
 BAHRAIN     The index        added 0.5 pct to
             1,348 points
 
 (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell
Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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