Banking shares push Saudi lower; other Gulf markets rise

Saudi Arabian stock market dropped in early trade on Thursday, lifted lower by its banking shares while other Gulf markets increased.

In Saudi Arabia, the index fell 0.5 percent as Al Rajhi Bank dropped 0.6 percent and Samba Financial Group lost 1.3 percent .

Banking stocks have come under pressure in recent weeks from the Saudi central bank’s decision to follow the U.S. Federal Reserve in cutting interest rates, which analysts expect to squeeze lenders’ profit margins.

Insurer Salama Cooperative Insurance slumped 5.2 percent after it swung to second-quarter pre-zakat loss.

But Saudi Arabian Amiantit jumped 4 percent after Capital Market Authority approved to reduce share capital of the firm.

In Abu Dhabi, the index rose 0.5 percent as Emirates Telecommunications Group increased 1.6 percent and Abu Dhabi National Energy (Taqa) increased 3.3 percent.

The latter said on Wednesday its Iraq-based unit had set a production record from the Atrush oilfield in the northern Kurdistan region. The total monthly production volume exceeded 1 million barrels of oil in July.

Nasdaq Dubai listed port operator DP World climbed 1.4 percent after reporting higher first-half profit.

Qatar’s index rose 0.3 percent after it fell on Wednesday when it snapped a three-session winning streak. Telecom operator Ooredoo jumped 5 percent and the Gulf’s largest lender Qatar National Bank gained 0.4 percent.

Dubai’s index traded flat 0.5 percent with Dubai Islamic Bank gaining 0.8 percent while Emaar Properties slipped 0.4 percent.

A lawsuit has been filed against Emaar’s Egyptian unit claiming part of the land where it is building the sprawling Marassi residential and leisure development on Egypt’s North Coast.

Source: Reuters