Banks aid Saudi gain, Dubai falls on real estate

Saudi stocks rose early on Monday, a day after falling to a one-month low, as banks rebounded and oil prices gained amid expectations that the kingdom will push OPEC to cut supply.

Saudi Arabia’s index added 0.4 percent, with heavyweights Al-Rajhi Bank climbing 0.6 percent and National Commercial Bank rising 1.2 percent.

Stock market data on Sunday showed that qualified foreign investors were net sellers in the week to Nov. 15, extending a wave of sell-offs on concerns over Saudi Arabia’s deteriorating relations with foreign governments after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he wants to maintain a close alliance with Saudi Arabia despite Khashoggi’s death and questioned the alleged role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Some cement stocks including Saudi Cement, Al Jouf Cement and Yanbu Cement gained, partly on hopes that a possible end to the Yemen war could boost cement demand for reconstruction.

But high geopolitical tensions in the Gulf make it unclear whether a permanent resolution to the conflict is possible.

Yanbu Cement was up 0.6 percent, while Al Jouf gained 0.9 percent and Saudi Cement was 0.1 percent higher.

The Qatar index, which gained in the last session after a rebound in Qatar Fuel, edged down 0.2 percent.

Qatar Fuel fell 1.9 percent, while Qatar National Bank lost 0.8 percent and Qatar Islamic Bank shed 0.7 percent.

In Dubai, the index fell 0.5 percent, pulled down by real estate firms.

Dubai Investments fell 4 percent in its fourth straight session of declines after MSCI decided to move the stock to its UAE small cap index from its United Arab Emirates standard index.

DAMAC Properties dropped 1.4 percent and Union Properties slipped 2.9 percent.

Nasdaq-listed DP World was up 0.1 percent. The company’s chairman told Reuters on Sunday he believed international trade tensions will make 2019 challenging but not unmanageable.

The global ports operator was taking measures to reduce costs and is addressing how it will manage a challenging 2019, the chairman added.

The Abu Dhabi index was flat with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank rising 4.9 percent after news that foreigners are allowed to own up to 25 percent of shares in the bank from Monday.

Abu Dhabi National Hotel surged 8.6 percent.

Source: Reuters

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