March 15, 2020 / 1:27 PM / 20 days ago

CORRECTED-MIDEAST STOCKS-Major Middle East indexes decline on coronavirus impact

 (Corrects last para to show that Qatar's index rose 1% not
'0.1%')
    * Saudi Aramco slips as FY profit falls
    * DXB Entertainments halts park operations
    * All 30 Egyptian blue-chips decline

    By Maqsood Alam
    March 15 (Reuters) - Most major Middle Eastern stock markets
closed lower on Sunday amid fears of economic fallout from
coronavirus precautions, with Egypt falling the most and Saudi
Aramco slipping after it missed profit forecasts.
    Gulf Arab states, with nearly 900 virus cases, expanded
measures to contain the spread of the infection with Abu Dhabi's
bourse closing trading halls and Dubai shuttering cinemas, gyms
and arcades. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have halted international
passenger flights.
    Egypt, with more than 100 virus cases, announced the closure
of schools and universities for two weeks.
    The Egyptian index, which traded after a session
break, plunged 9.3%, its biggest intra-day fall since November
2012. All the constituents closed in the red, with Commercial
International Bank plummeting 9.9%.
    In Saudi Arabia, the index was down 1.1% in a third
straight day of declines. Al Rajhi Bank shed 1.1%.
    Aramco closed down 1% at 28.7 riyals ($7.65) after posting a
21% decline in 2019 net profit to $88.2 billion. Analysts had
expected net profit of $92.6 billion, based on 15 analysts
polled by Refinitiv.
    Banque Saudi Fransi lost 4.7%. The lender said it
began implementing the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency’s private
sector financing support program which allows SMEs a six-month
deferral on bank payments.
    Lejaam Sports plunged 10% after it suspended
activities temporarily due to the coronavirus.
    Dubai's index slid 3.4%, trading at its lowest
since 2013. Emirates NBD Bank weighed on the index
most, dropping 10%.
    Emaar Properties ended 5% down. It said last week
it would stop taking bookings at three hotels for more than five
months, effective from Sunday, due to the virus.
    DXB Entertainments lost 5.1% after temporarily
suspending theme park operations.
    Abu Dhabi's index was down 1.9% with First Abu Dhabi
Bank declining 3.7% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
 decreasing 5.8%.
    Kuwait's index, which traded after a suspension on
Thursday, decreased 6.5% with Kuwait Finance House
falling 7.8%.
    The Qatari index, however, bucked the trend, rising
1%. Qatar National Insurance rose 7%.
    
 SAUDI ARABIA          fell 1.1% to 6,287 points
 ABU DHABI            slipped 1.9% to 3,849 points
 DUBAI                  lost 3.4% to 1,963 points
 QATAR                was up 1% to 8,311 points
 EGYPT                  plunged 9.3% to 10,148 points
 BAHRAIN              dropped 1.5% to 1,415 points
 OMAN                 edged up 0.4% to 3,748 points
 KUWAIT               declined 6.5% to 4,905 points
 

($1 = 3.7533 riyals)

 (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru, Editing by William
Maclean)
  
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