Gulf stocks mostly little changed; financials pressure Saudi shares

Gulf stocks were mostly quiet in moderate trading volumes on Wednesday in the absence of foreign investors for Christmas, while Saudi was hurt by losses in financial shares.

The Saudi index fell 0.3 percent as Al Rajhi Bank lost 0.5 percent and fellow lender National Commercial Bank dropped 0.6 percent.

State-owned Aramco slipped a further 0.4 percent despite Goldman Sachs saying that it may stabilise its shares by purchasing additional shares on the market.

But Gulf Union Cooperative Insurance gained 2.6 percent after it signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Al Ahlia for Cooperative Insurance to evaluate merger. Al Ahlia advanced 5.6 percent.

In Dubai, the index edged down 0.2 percent with Emaar Properties losing 0.7 percent and Emirates NBD Bank down 0.4 percent.

The Abu Dhabi index rose 0.3 percent, driven by a 0.7 percent gain in the country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 0.3 percent increase in Dana Gas.

On Tuesday, Dana received a one-off $42 million dividend payment from Pearl Petroleum in Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

However, Qatar’s index traded flat with Qatar Insurance adding 1.3 percent, while Commercial Bank slipped 0.7 percent.

Source: Reuters