June 19, 2019 / 1:17 PM / 3 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi outperforms as most Gulf mkts gain but Saudi retreats

    * First Abu Dhabi to shut Qatar Operations
    * Nine of twelve Saudi banks decline
    * Saudi's Mahara surges to daily limit
    * 24 of 30 stocks on Egypt's index slide

    By Ateeq Shariff
    June 19 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi stocks outperformed Gulf
markets on Wednesday buoyed by financial stocks, while Saudi
snapped two days of gains pressured by banking shares.
    Last week's attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman raised
fears of confrontation in a vital route for global oil supply
and heightened tensions between Iran and the United States.
    Investor concerns have eased somewhat, after both Tehran and
Riyadh said they did not want a war, but tensions in the region
remain high.
    The Abu Dhabi index added 1.3%, as First Abu Dhabi
Bank (FAB) and Emirates Telecommunications Group
 were up 1% and 1.1% respectively.
    On Wednesday, First Abu Dhabi Bank, the biggest lender in
the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said that it will close its sole
branch in Qatar, citing Doha's regulatory actions against the
    Earlier in June, Qatar placed further restrictions on FAB as
it continues a probe into alleged currency manipulation begun
after the UAE and other Arab states launched a boycott against
Qatar in mid-2017.
    However, First Abu Dhabi Bank said Qatari actions have no
impact on its business outside Qatar, as the Doha branch
contributed less than 0.03% of FAB's full-year 2018 net profit.
    Qatar's index closed 0.8% higher with lender Masraf
Al Rayan surging 2.5% and Qatar International Islamic
Bank jumping 4.6%.
    In Dubai, the index was up 0.4%, led by a 1.2% rise
in Dubai Islamic Bank and a 3.6% surge in Emaar Malls
    The Saudi index declined 0.7% with most of its
banking shares sliding. Riyad Bank dropped 3.5% and
National Commercial Bank, the country's largest
lender, lost 1.2%.
    Saudi Arabia's consumer prices fell in May from a year
earlier for the fifth month in a row, but the consumer price
index (CPI) rose marginally from April, signalling the kingdom
is having some success in boosting its non-oil sector.

    The annual CPI decline has partly reflected the fading
impact of last year's introduction of a value-added tax (VAT),
economists have said.
    But Maharah Human Resources jumped 10% to 83.4
riyals ($22.24). The stock was offered at 69 riyals per share.
    Egypt's blue-chip index traded in the red for the
second day. The index was down 0.5 percent with Commercial
International bank sliding 0.5 percent.
    Exchange data on Wednesday showed Egyptian and Arab
investors were net sellers of Egyptian stocks.
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         lost 0.7% to 8,936 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        rose 1.3% to 4,975 points
 DUBAI         The index          added 0.4% to 2,639 points
 QATAR         The index        gained 0.8% to 10,507 points
 EGYPT         The index          fell 0.5% to 14,132 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        edged up 0.2% at 1,454 points
 OMAN          The index        was up 0.7% to 3,943 points
 KUWAIT        The index        was flat at 6,304 points
 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru;
Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)
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